Monday February 11, was National Clean Out Your Computer Day. This reminded me of the challenge I ran recently called the Digital Detox. Below I share a few of the best strategies that you can start doing today to clear out your computer. There’s no reason to wait until next year!
Before you start, be sure to contact your records management, human resources (HR) or information technology (IT) department for the rules and regulations around documents and programs you must keep and those you can delete. If your company doesn’t have an information governance strategy – one that outlines what information is to be kept, where, and for how long – it’s time to get one in place. Information can have unforeseeable legal implications.
Speed Up Your Computer
If your computer is lagging, your startup is taking far too long (I don’t reboot my computer nightly – check with your IT department about your company standard), or suddenly your programs are unexpectedly closing, you’ll want to focus on speeding up your computer.
First, you can clean up your disk on windows. I am not a tech person and I don’t play one on TV so I have provided instructions from WikiHow
- Open Start.
- Type in disk cleanup
- Click Disk Cleanup.
- Click Clean up system files.
- Check every box on the page.
- Click OK.
- Click Delete Files when prompted.
- Uninstall unnecessary programs.
You can also defragment your computer. What is defragging you ask? According to LifeHacker, “Most hard drives have spinning platters, with data stored in different places around that platter. When your computer writes data to your drive, it does so in “blocks” that are ordered sequentially from one side of the drive’s platter to the other. Fragmentation happens when those files get split between blocks that are far away from each other. The hard drive then takes longer to read that file because the read head has to “visit” multiple spots on the platter. Defragmentation puts those blocks back in sequential order, so your drive head doesn’t have to run around the entire platter to read a single file.”
The advice is to defrag this once a month but you can run a system scan to see if you need one first. I can guarantee you I don’t defrag my computer that often. So that’s the project I will take on this week. You can set your computer to defrag at the end of the work day.
Update Your Security
This is way out of my area of expertise. But who you know is often more important than what you know. I asked Ann Marie van den Hurk of Mind the Gap PR Cyberrisk to give you some pointers.
“You lock your dwelling or car to keep it safe from the bad guys. Do you do the same for your personal information online? You need to start thinking about guarding your data like you do your house. Your data is more precious than oil or gold in today’s digital world.
While everyone should have virus/malware protection on their devices like Norton or Sophos, it is important to have at least three other levels of protection. Public WiFi is everywhere and most use it without a thought of security. One way to keep you safe on the go is a “virtual private network,” which routes all of your internet traffic through a secure server that hides where you’ve browsed–and even where you are located. Choose a paid VPN service.
Another level is a Privacy-Focused Web Browser such as Brave that doesn’t track your movements. Lastly, is a Password Manager which creates and saves unique, highly complex passwords automatically and fill them in at sites you want to log in at—based on one strong master password or key.”
Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR Mind The Gap PR Cyberrisk.
Clean Out Your Digital Files
Do this when your entire screen (desktop) is filled with files and folders, you can’t find files, or you are constantly using the search bar in File Explorer.
Before you start, be sure to make a backup. I have my files backed up on a terabyte external hard drive. You can also back them up into the cloud. My personal favorite is Dropbox.
If your company doesn’t have a set system, set up an outline before your begin. My primary file groups are:
Then I file under each category. For clients I use a code so that their information is more private. Not that I have anyone looking at my information but you can never be too careful. I use a 4 letter code for clients. You might use numbers. The key is to be consistent no matter which system you choose.
I have a section on how to declutter and set up a digital file management system that I will be releasing with my Digital Detox course in March. Believe me you have plenty enough to do with the first two items here. You can use this month to set up your vision for your system.
Struggling? Overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start? Let’s get on a call to see how I can help you