Written by Alex Hay
Published on March 27, 2014

The time we spend on computers, in and out of work, is astronomical to put it lightly! At Dataplan 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year we’re constantly inputting data, reading emails, creating spreadsheets; essentially typing and clicking at 100 mph.

During this computing marathon it’s all too easy to overload your system with unnecessary data. Or more adequately (less technically!) put: Clutter! Here are a few clutter clearing methods that should be part of your work routine.

Emails - Clear As You Go

Whether it’s as emails arrive, at the end of the day, or weekly, this is a great habit to have and fundamental to maintaining an organised inbox. Get into a routine where at certain time times you’ll go through your inbox and get rid of all unneeded emails.

Do you really need that memo from 2 weeks ago letting you know there’s birthday cake in the staff room? Obviously not, but by not deleting it, you’re only making it more difficult when it comes to finding the important stuff.

My personal plan of clutter clearance is:

1. If an email arrives that’s of no relevance to me (a group email for example, or spam that escaped the junk filter) I’ll immediately delete it rather than letting it sit in my inbox.

2. First thing Monday morning, I’ll check through all the previous weeks’ emails that escaped my first clutter identifying test and delete any emails I’ve replied to or dealt with.

3.  My final clutter cleanse is in the form of a monthly check. Again I’ll just flick through all the emails (already trimmed down to just the important ones) identifying which ones I need, and which ones I can delete.

For some companies, Dataplan included, it’s common practice to keep all correspondence with clients on the system. Whether it’s answering a query, finding key information, or proof for any issues that may occur, you never know when you might need it.

This can obviously amount to a hefty sized inbox! To counter this, create a ‘Client’ folder, and within that create sub folders for all your clients. When an email has been dealt with, simply send it to the appropriate folder. 

Not only does this keep your inbox clear, it also means when it comes to finding an email from years ago your search is already streamlined to just that client.

Storage Management

Clutter isn’t just the stuff you can delete; most companies (Dataplan included) have an extensive amount of files and information they have to keep for years. Be it ancient invoices, former employee details, or sensitive client information, without a reliable storage management system this quickly litters your everyday files with last year’s clutter, whilst filling your computers disk space.

• In order to make the most of your storage capacity make sure any old files are compressed. This cuts down on memory use whilst the files remain easily accessible.

• Make use of external hard drives. By keeping the bulk of your files on external hard drives, you’ll keep your computer’s disk space free, improving performance.
De-cluttering the Desktop

The dreaded sight of a disorganised desktop; Daunting isn’t it? Okay, so it’s convenient to send files there for quick and easy access. But when there are hundreds of others, in no particular order, the ‘quick and easy’ aspect is somewhat lost.

• Regularly review all the files on your desktop and delete those that aren’t in use. Furthermore, deleting icons for programmes you never use will quickly free up room.

• Rather than mixing everything together in one unorganised cluster, designate certain areas of your desktop to related files. So for example keep all programmes in a different corner to client files, making it painless and easy to find what you need.

• Even better, condense lots of files into one folder. When I started at a previous job the desktop was littered with ‘expense claim form for…’ documents. Needless to say they were all quickly moved into one ‘EXPENSES’ folder, immediately de-cluttering the desktop.

As long as you follow this guide, your system should be a No Clutter Zone! Organisation is the key to success and with companies becoming increasingly more dependent on computers, it’s important to keep them coordinated and clutter less.