Digital Clutter: Freeing Up Space On Your Devices Can Clear Space In Your Mind

Aug 06, 2022

digital clutter: freeing up space on your devices can clear space in your mind

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Cleaning up and getting organized isn’t just limited to physical places. Digital clutter may be taking up more space in your mind than you realize. Turning off bothersome notifications, purging your email, organizing bookmarks to make common sites you use accessible. Things like this can really have a positive effect on your mental well-being. 

If you have thousands of old emails, try using filters and categories to see what's important and what can go. Look through your apps to see which ones you haven't used in a while and uninstall them. If your files feel scattered, see if there's a way to group them into folders. But make sure not to go too far and put everything in folders, too much "nesting" makes things hard to find.

Some of this is easier said than done. Depending on your energy level, motivation, and how long things have been "piling up." Start slowly and go for as long as you can. By taking any amount of time, you will make it easier for yourself in the future.

Digital distractions

  • Emails: Is your inbox overflowing with constant emails from the same companies? You can change your email preferences or get 'em outta there. Filter less important emails to automatically be marked as "read." This avoids notifications for things like sales on a product you just bought. (Ugh, so frustrating.)

  • Apps: The apps you use most often should be as accessible as possible. Either on the home screen or in easy-to-find folders. Go through your apps every so often to uninstall ones that haven't been useful. Any distracting apps should have notifications silenced or turned off completely.

  • Cords: Do as much cord management as you can, so you don't see them running along walls and floors.

  • Media/Games: Organize and display your video games, consoles, and movies. Also your music, books, knick-knacks, etc. Anything that by displaying it, it would help you feel less cluttered. Find a shelf that you really like, if you don't already have one.

  • Passwords: Get a reputable password manager, like LastPass. These can help you keep all your passwords safe, and supplies you with encrypted passwords to use. Make sure you keep the "master password" to your manager encoded and in a safe secondary location. Most of them cannot be recovered without it.

  • Social Media: This one might actually be the biggest digital distraction there is. The point is to keep engagement high so they will do everything they can to keep you there. If you find yourself using it a lot, thinking about it a lot, or feeling bad about yourself, take a break. Tell your friends so they know not to invite you to things through social media, then you won't worry about missing out on any activities.

There are many more, but hopefully this helped you get some ideas of what's been weighing on you. Even if you aren't thinking about it, you're thinking about it.

Why take the time?

Whether you realize it or not, these things are weighing on your mind. There is a part of your brain that is paying attention and remembers. 

Imagine it like this: There's a whole bunch of tiny people running around in your brain helping you think. One of them is standing still and holding a file. The file says something like, "The water notification is going to go off soon." And then there's another one next to them with a file that says, "Swipe it away, we're busy."

If you think of it like that, how many tiny people in your brain are standing still and holding similar files? How can you free them up to run and get more important files?

The saying about how "learning something new pushes out old information" isn't entirely true. Your brain is capable of holding massive amounts of information, especially if you build the connections well. But it is true that you can make more room for positivity, gratitude, and self care. Especially if you're less stressed. Clearing up these tasks can help you to accomplish that.

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