We constantly clean up our living spaces, our lifestyles, and even our way of thinking. However, people tend to overlook their computers as items that require routine cleaning. If you have ever found yourself dealing with a lagging computer or unable to locate an important file, consider taking time to get digitally organized. With a little effort and a just a few minutes, you can reorganize your electronic life and immediately notice improvements!
But why? The first, and most important, reason to organize your computer is to reduce stress levels! Getting organized does not mean digital perfection, but it is the difference between knowing which drawer to look in versus turning the whole house inside-out. While less stress is a great benefit, its side effects may be a more convincing reason to clean up your computer. Lower stress leads to a more comfortable work environment which can increase productivity. An organized digital workspace will reduce the need for a full computer search to locate one file, allowing you to maintain a positive workflow. Another reason to do some digital cleanup is to increase PC processing power, decrease program load times, decrease computer startup and login times, and generally make everything run faster. Overall, there are no drawbacks to taking time to organize your computer and while this list does not encompass every tip and trick, below are key steps you can take toward a digitally organized life.
First, you will want to clean up your computer desktop. According to your computer, anything located on your desktop is a file that could be needed immediately. Therefore, every time you login, your computer takes extra time to load these files, ensuring they are ready to open. If there is a file you only need once a year, there is no need for your computer to prepare it at every login.
The second thing you should do is create folders; the best place being under “Documents.” Setting and adhering to a file structure removes the anxiety and stress that comes with aimlessly searching for documents. Begin by making 10 folders to organize all your files into. Remember, you can add sub folders as you continue to organize. When sorting through your files, you may discover duplicates of documents. Removing the unnecessary files will speed up your PC, make things easier to find, and reduce the risk of an important file accidentally being overlooked, lost, or made into a security vulnerability. However, if you still want the ease of viewing documents from your desktop, right click the newly created folder to create a shortcut which can be placed directly on your desktop with no adverse effects to speed or processing power.
Another area to clean up are your active folders, including downloads and temporary folders. The downloads folder should never be used as a primary storage location. The more items in the folder, the slower every subsequent download becomes. Additionally, the computer treats the download folder as temporary storage; therefore, in the event of a system crash or power outage, downloaded documents are at risk of corruption. Move any pertinent files to a permanent location and delete the remainder. However, be sure to clean up the recycle bin too. Computers keep deleted files in the recycle bin, eating up processing power. If you no longer need the files, empty the recycle bin. Additionally, removing unnecessary programs will allow your PC to run smoother. We often download a program or use a specific tool for one task and never again. However, the program remains on our computer, using processing power and creating vulnerability risks over time. To prevent this, look at your control panel for all installed applications. Keep programs limited to only what you need. This will improve computer speeds and ensure outdated software is not turned into a backdoor for hackers to access sensitive information.
The final tip is invaluable. Modern PCs allow users to setup computer tasks with Task Scheduler. This tool checks for updates, reboots your computer every night, and runs a computer defragmentation once a month. A defragmentation, or defrag, is an internal process that rearranges files on a hard drive for faster access. This will not change what you see, but rather it helps keep the internal programming organized and enables the computer to run faster. Set up only takes a few clicks and automates the computer to self-clean periodically. Specific steps can be found on all major manufacturers and software supplier websites.
Cleaning your digital space is incredibly beneficial and will make a noticeable improvement to your computer. You will find yourself grateful for getting organized sooner rather than later and may even find your own unique system. Regardless, there is no wrong way to get organized and clean up your digital life!