How to Give Your Digital Environment a Good Spring Clean
As our lives are increasingly transferred to an online space, keeping your digital environment organised is important not only for your own sanity but for keeping your information secure.
We know that Spring doesn’t really have anything to do with cleaning, especially not in a digital sense. But sometimes we just need a little reminder to get ourselves organised, and a catch phrase like ‘spring cleaning’ might just do the trick.
With things like unlimited Cloud storage, downloads folders and set and forget digital accounts, it doesn’t take long for your digital space to become somewhat cluttered. Aside from the fact that this can get quite annoying to sift through, it’s also not great for digital security.
Depending on how long you’ve avoided this task for, it could take you a while to sort it all out. But the longer you put it off, the worse it’s going to get! It’s best if you just bite the bullet and take some time to get your digital life cleaned up. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.
Here’s some tips to help you create your to-do list.
Get rid of all your unnecessary hardware
Are you guilty of stockpiling all those promotional usb drives? Or do you still have CDs full of photos or a box of floppy disks hidden away in the shed?
Let’s have a think about how often you use any of those things, and then about how easy they are to use with your current devices. We’re guessing that you barely ever pull out that disc full of photos from your niece’s primary school graduation, and that if you ever do, you can’t find a disc drive to put it in?
It’s time to purge all that old technology. No, we’re not saying you need to get rid of all the photos and history that is held captive by those relics, just that you should consolidate and get rid of all the clutter you never use.
Find a hard drive with enough space and put all your old information on, and transfer it all over - if you can still find something willing to read your floppy discs.
Clean up your necessary hardware
Now that you are just focusing on current technology, it’s time to give your systems an update and your folders a sorting. Making sure that your software and security systems are regularly updated will help lower your risks of getting hacked, it will also help speed up your computer.
Once your systems are all up to date, you can move on to your folders and files. Go through your downloads folder, move files to the right locations and delete unnecessary files. Have a look through your documents, make sure there are no duplicates and that everything is organised into a folder that makes sense. All your files should be able to be found in a quick search, so their names should be something relevant to the file.
Don’t forget to tidy up your desktop too! Files have a habit of piling up there without us realising, especially things like screenshots (which also will probably not have a relevant name).
Secure your security
While you’re getting your digital life organised, it’s a good time to have a look at your online security measure. Let’s talk passwords. Are you still using ‘password123’ for all your online accounts? Change it now, seriously, change it. Having a strong password really is as important as everyone keeps saying it is. So is having a unique password for all your accounts.
We know it can be hard to keep track of a million different passwords especially when they’re all over 8 characters long and full of numbers and symbols too. Luckily there are a bunch of online password management programs that can organise and store your passwords for you. At HutSix we use 1Password, but there’s also free software like Lastpass that will do a good job too.
Software like these help you to consistently create strong and unique passwords for all your accounts and keep track of them for you. By installing the software on your computer or any other device, you can autofill your passwords as soon as you reach the login page. Password management software is also able to generate a new password for you every time you create an account, storing it in its catalogue of all your passwords until you’re ready to use it.
Organising your passwords like this will not only save you time and the pain of having to remember your password for each account, it also adds additional security to your online presence. Password management software encrypts all your passwords, so if any hacker is ever able to make it through their strong security measures, they will only ever see a scrambled mess of letters, numbers and symbols.
Clear out your inbox
Oh the email inbox… We know you’ve definitely been avoiding this one!
With many email services now offering unlimited storage, you don’t have to delete any emails ever. However, it can be quite tricky to find that one email you vaguely remember that talked about that thing you now need to know about, if you haven’t got some kind of method to how you store your emails.
Go through and delete all the notification emails you don’t need anymore, unsubscribe from the newsletters you never read. Put all your emails regarding an important project in a so-labelled folder, all your admin emails in another. You get the idea, start a system for organising your emails so that when new emails come to your inbox you can immediately sort them. Then you can enjoy that satisfaction of finally having a clear inbox, with no hidden unread notifications to stress you out during the day.
Check your apps and accounts
How many times have you signed up for an account that you’ve used once and then found something better or lost interest in it? You probably still get emails from them every now and again, reminding you of latest updates or asking you to check your notifications. How annoying.
Go through and get rid of any apps and accounts that you don’t use anymore. Consolidating your online identity and confining it all to just a few important accounts that you use all the time will tidy up your digital presence. It will also give hackers less personal information to find, especially if your remaining accounts are all now properly secured.
Now, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve done it! Your digital life is all clean, tidy and more secure! The trick now is to try and remember to sort as you go, then next Spring this job won’t be so ginormous. As our lives are increasingly transferred to an online space, keeping your digital environment organised is important not only for your own sanity but for keeping your information secure. It’s best to stay on top of it while you can still vaguely remember all the places you’ve given your information away to.