We are all familiar with the physical clutter that lays around the house… It’s there when you go to bed at night and there when you wake up in the morning. This is what people tend to think of when I say “clutter.” However, with the digital age there is also electronic clutter that is not as obvious or talked about as frequently.
Electronic clutter is just as much of a problem as physical clutter and it can actually weigh you down even though it’s as light as your iphone or laptop. So what is it and where should you start?
This is actually a blog post I will carry out for a week or two because there is simply too much for one little post to cover. There is email, social networking, calendar appointments, music, data, pictures etc. etc. etc. We are so lucky to have such a wealth of information at our fingertips, but we are also burdened with how to manage all of it.
Let’s start with email. First, your email is not meant to be a historical record that you can share with your grandchildren one day. So, for gosh sakes delete some emails. I challenge my clients… and myself to keep only active emails in my inbox. If you have solved the problem, noted the date on your calendar or responded to the funny picture your best friends sent then delete it.
Keeping your inbox list to one page is a great start, but it’s just that, a start. Next step, set up some boundaries for yourself. You don’t have to check your email every 5 minutes – or even every time it dings that you have an email. Start small – maybe set up a chime to go off every hour, turn your phone volume off for the day and see how often you check it without the bell dinging at you or simply leave your phone at home one day and see how freeing it can feel. Anyone that needs you will know how to get in touch with you – and it won’t kill people to pick up the phone, I’m just saying! This sounds great, but trust me it’s tough and still something I am learning to master.
Last, set a time at night when you cut yourself off from email. In our house 9:00 is the cutoff. Power down and give yourself time to regroup. You will give your brain the clarity it needs to lull you into a good night’s sleep and leave you rested and ready to tackle the day in the morning.
Good luck with this first step in clearing out the electronic clutter. Next week… Pictures!
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