Every so often I like to take some time to give my digital life some much needed attention, and really get things in order. We tend to do this with our homes and cars; where we take one weekend and change the window curtains, and bang out those mats. So in that spirit lets examine some things you can do to get you computer and your digital life, refreshed.
1. Go though that Inbox
We all get more e-mail that we can handle and way more than we actually care about, so it’s a good idea to go through your inbox and delete all the junk that you know you’ll never read and file those e-mails you need to keep. Now would also be a good time to create some rules/filters so that your e-mail application (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook) can automatically do most of this organizing for you on an ongoing basis.
2. Clean up that Desktop
I know not everyone puts every file they’ve ever encountered on their desktop, but we all have that folder where we throw everything; for some people it’s the Desktop (for me it’s my Downloads folder) where there’s an icon for every program ever installed and every file ever downloaded. Clean it up. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you only need a handful of the files you’ve accumulated either because you’ve gotten whatever you needed from them or you can easily get them again if you needed to. You’ll enjoy the cleanliness of that Desktop and you’ll spend far less time searching for your Excel icon.
3. Uninstall those programs
Even I’m guilty of accumulating applications that I hardly ever use; I may have needed a utility at one time or another and never used it again, 6 months later I still have it installed. Go to your Control Panel, select Add/Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs and Features (Windows Vista/7) and go through the list of programs you have installed and uninstall those programs you know you no longer use. CAUTION: If you don’t recognize a program do not uninstall it (it may be something you or your system needs).
4. Update, Update, Update
We should be doing this all year round but there are some updates that just require more work than others. Make sure that those utilities you use frequently are at their latest version. Some more popular applications include: Adobe Acrobat Reader, iTunes, QuickBooks, and of course your system updates for Microsoft Windows. This will ensure that you have the latest security patches and the latest features.