Declutter your computer

By: Marcia Francois

Today I want to talk about an area of the office that may just be one of my favourite things to organise – your computer!

Because we can’t SEE computer clutter as obviously as we can see physical clutter, we often don’t realize it’s there but believe me, it’s still affecting you.

When you open your Inbox, you feel drained at the sight of all those emails, your computer runs slow because there’s so many photos on there (well, hello, they’ve been there for the last 3 years!) and when you click into your Google Reader, you can’t BELIEVE how much some people post because you went through your blogs for 3 hours yesterday and now there are 127 unread items yet again!

Sound familiar?

Let’s look at 4 places where you can declutter electronically:

How many blogs are you following in your Google Reader, Bloglines or other feed reader? Do you know how long you take to read all of those blogs every day?

Take some time to go through and declutter those you tend to skim over. Get to know your comfort number. Mine is around 42 – 45 and I know when I start adding more and more blogs without deleting any, I start feeling more and more overwhelmed at the sight of all those unread items!

Free downloads
We women like free things, don’t we? As a result, we download anything and everything we can find that’s for free. If it’s free, it’s got to be good, right? Right?

No, actually, it’s not all good. Not only are you cluttering up your computer but you can’t possibly use all the things that are out there because we’re living in an information overload society.

At one point I had about 6 different grocery shopping lists on my computer (all free downloads). None of them quite worked for me so I made my own 


Mmmm, email. My clients need help with email more than any other thing in their office, and paper’s a close second. That’s because email’s so fast and because we don’t use it correctly.

Get familiar with the delete key (my favorite key on the keyboard) and start deleting. Delete immediately once you’ve replied to an email and don’t file unless you absolutely have to.

Disable all the notifications from social networking sites like Facebook. I only get friend requests, messages and notes on my wall in my inbox. The rest I’ll see when I log on.

Here again, decide on your comfort level for emails and make sure you process until you can breathe again.

I set a daily goal of deleting at least 50 items so once I’m done with my inbox, I go through my Sent Items and delete, delete, delete 😉

As a matter of interest, how many emails are in your inbox right now?

Now that we’ve all gone digital, it’s so easy to snap, snap, snap and then snap some more. Download pictures regularly, delete the bad ones there and then, and save to CD or DVD regularly.

I only print gorgeous shots (because printing is so expensive) so if I wouldn’t want to print it, I don’t keep it on my computer. If I want to use pics on the blog, I compress them immediately so that they take up 50KB as opposed to 1MB.

My coaching challenge to you
Print out this post.
Tackle one of these sections every week until they’re all done.
Let me know when you do them.

Happy organising!

Marcia Francois is a time management and organising coach who works with small business owners and other busy professionals who want to make the most of their time. Marcia shares practical organising and decluttering tips on her Organising Queen blog and anything else that takes her fancy like photos, recipes, etc. on

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