Living in a time where many of us have very tech-focussed lives, keeping one’s digital world organized is often as important as keeping any other aspect of your life organized. If you are heavily reliant on your computer and the Internet for work or study, it is even more important to get into some good organizational habits. Despite this fact, many people keep their online accounts and their computers in a state of disarray, often losing important data, forgetting passwords, falling victim to hackers or mislaying work as a result. The following tips will help you to train yourself to better keep track of your digital life.
It Starts with Your Desktop
Many people keep their desktop and folders in such a mess that they often end up mislaying important files, or worse, accidentally deleting folders thinking that their contents was safely stored elsewhere. While you can also download third-party applications to help keep your computer organized, there really isn’t any need to provided that you get on top of things and get into the habit of staying organized. Once you have spent a small amount of time clearing up your digital filing cabinet, you will find it much easier to maintain and keep track of in the future. Consider the following tips to organizing your computer.
Uninstall unwanted applications from the Programs section of the Control Panel. Getting rid of programs that you no longer use will free up space on your hard disk and improve your computer’s performance overall. There will be less drain on system resources, less programs automatically starting up when you log into windows and less clutter on your desktop and start menu. You may also want to try disabling startup programs by using the msconfig utility, or in Windows 8, from the Advanced Task Manager.
Organize your files and folders in the Documents folder for your user account. This way, everything is kept safely in your own account folder away from other users and locations where you can more easily lose them. Rather than having things like documents and pictures clutter up your desktop, place them into the default folders in your user account folder. By default, this folder is located at C:Users(your user name).
Get rid of junk files to free up space on your computer and improve Performance. Windows includes the Disk Clean-up utility to take care of this for you. You can access it by right-clicking on your primary hard disk drive in the Computer folder and clicking “Properties.” Disk Clean-up will remove temporary and junk files from your computer in a matter of minutes.
Try better organizing your start menu, or in Windows 8, the start screen. Categorizing your applications by dropping their shortcuts into custom folders will make it much easier to find what you need when you need it. If using Windows 7 or earlier, you can access the start menu shortcuts folder at “C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms.” Shortcuts which only appear in your user account are stored in “C:Users(your user name)AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms.” You may also want to consolidate all of your shortcuts into either of these folders. The same folders also exist in Windows 8, though organizing the start screen shortcuts can be done entirely from within the start screen itself.
Today, the average Internet user typically has one or more email accounts, several social media accounts and a whole lot of other online accounts from Internet banking to online shopping, forums and more. Keeping track of all your login details as well as all of the information that you’ve no doubt got stored online is essential for the sake of both organization and security.
If you use multiple email addresses, try consolidating them by using the Windows Mail app in Windows 8 or Outlook for the desktop and older versions of Windows. Alternatively, you can use a completely Web-based service such as Gmail. Gmail offers several gigabytes of free storage space, allows you to consolidate email accounts, create and label custom folders and use a powerful search function.
Close down accounts that you no longer use. This is better for security, since there is no point in keeping accounts and storing data online if you don’t need it any more. If there’s an email account or social networking account that you haven’t used in months, it may be time to close it down and remove any data stored with it.
Filter important news items using RSS feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds allow you to receive new updates from all of the blogs, social networks and other online services you use in a single location. One of the world’s most popular RSS aggregators is Google Reader. It is also available for free.
Make a note of any login data and passwords that you use, and keep them safely stored in a very secure location. Having different passwords for different accounts is a good habit to get into for the sake of security, but remembering everything can get difficult.