A few weeks back we wrote about de-cluttering your email’s inbox. Today we’ll tackle your desktop.
Your digital desktop is like your physical desktop. A screen filled with file icons is like a desk with massive piles of paper. The main issue with disorganization like this, is not being able to use the information that you’ve already created. If you are funded by grants, for example, there are times when you are called upon to provide data and collecting it takes time. Or, if you want to apply for a grant or an award, you will need to support your application. Curating your own information should not be a timely or overwhelming task.
Clutter, both digitally and physically, can cause an ambiguity effect. That is, when something seems ambiguous, we avoid it.
How do you know your information is cluttered? Because you:
- Can’t find stuff
- Can’t understand it even when you do find it
- Stuff is stored in scattered locations
- Poor memory of what you have and where it is
- Low level of compliance with policies or laws (highly relevant if you are incorporated or a registered charity)
- Can’t bring together the complete story of an issues, project, or event.
Here are seven steps to clear desktop clutter:
- Start by identifying the different themes or functions of your work.
- Each function needs its own folder.
- Within each folder are sub-folders and files.
- Everything that has to do with that function must be housed within the corresponding folder.
- Title all folders and files a name that describes what it contains.
- Each folder must be mutually exclusive –that means only contain information about one thing, it must be exclusive from the other folders. And each folder must be collectively exhausted –that means everything must have a place. (It is so much easier to put things away when you know where they go).
- Start dragging and dropping.
The digital filing system needs to mirror the paper filing system and email.