5 Steps to Spring Cleaning in the Digital Era

Every Spring we clear the unused, worn beyond repair and unwanted to make room for changes in our lives and our bodies. This can take the form of cleaning out clothing closets, training to get fit for bathing suit season, removing all the comfort foods that got us through the Winter, even cleaning up receipts to prepare for taxes. Some of us are more disciplined than others about this custom. Coming from a family led by the belief that if it can last another year with a duct tape, it should not be thrown away, I am pretty poor at the full closet purge. Nevertheless, I am very aware of the lightness that comes from a successful cleansing when achieved.

In the digital era, we accumulate as much or more clutter that can cause distraction and stress. In my work with digital life balance, the burden of unwanted notifications and interruptions can cause a heaviness that creeps in when we are not aware. Here are some very easy and quick things you can do to Spring Clean your digital life and make room for clarity and effective use of the tools that you have at your disposal. 

  1. Back-up your devices (smartphone, computer, tablet) onto both the cloud and an external hard drive for safe keeping. Small external hard drives even up to 8TB can be purchased for a very reasonable price these days. This way if your internet is down or your cloud provider is having issues, you will always have access to your data (photos, etc)
  2. Remove unused smart phone apps that you have not used for a year. Be sure to make note of login and passwords, in case you wish to reinstall later. If it is an app that you use annually (ie. a certain airline or event) create a travel or event folder to keep them from cluttering your homescreen. When you have done this, turn your device fully off and on to reboot.
  3. Turn off notifications for all apps that are not critical for your day to function. You can turn them back on as needed.  
  4. Remove devices from the bedroom! Use an alarm clock instead of your phone or tablet.  (Sleep tracking devices are the exception). Creating a docking space for devices to charge overnight outside of your bedroom will not only be better for your sleep but also improve your connection with your self and partner.
  5. Cable and cords, oh my! The first thing to go or get lost on the numerous devices are the cables and cords (including headphones). Take a moment to sort them all by type (lightening, mini-usb, voltage, etc). Throw away any that are non-functioning or have exposed wires - these are a fire hazard. Twenty dollars for a new cable is a better investment than replacing damage caused by a fire. Put an elastic or tie around each to avoid tangles. Then put them in pouches or ziplock bags by type.  

For those of you who already do these practices on a regular basis, kudos to you. You are well on your way to developing digital life balance. For those of your who do not already, plan a day to be kind to yourself and make room for it. Like our traditional Spring cleaning, it may feel like work, but you will feel a lightness from the successful cleansing as a result of your efforts.