As part of a spring clean – a series of posts where I document my ‘digital detox’ – reducing the clutter and streamlining my digital life. Previous here.
Going through a Digital Detox requires a bit of discipline. The idea of reducing your interruptions, streamlining your digital footprint and making sure things are optimised means that you need to do some work to get there, but the results are good.
Since working on my IOS devices, I’ve been amazed at how much less I am drawn to my mobile devices, switching off notifications and reducing unwanted clutter and apps has made me much less reliant. Then making sure I keep the discipline of keeping devices away from the bedroom has changed my relationship with my phone and Ipad.
Next – my Windows machines
This step was relatively easy. I’m pretty good at keeping my PC environment clean and tidy. I have a blocker in my calendar once a week for what I call the ‘”three d’s”.
Desktop – Downloads – Documents
Once a week I prompt myself to clear down those three folders, making sure that only the things I am working on are on my desktop. Then I check my downloads folder and purge any temporary files that I’ve worked on. Finally, I make sure that all the work documents I need are in my Documents folder, stored on OneDrive.
On my personal windows desktop at home, I do the same – using Dropbox to store my personal documents securely, in the cloud.
During the same process, I also run ccleaner from Piriform, a handy utility that does a bunch of cleanup activities on my PC and keeps any wasted space down to a minimum. You can automate ccleaner, and run it on a schedule, but I prefer the full manual control. Ccleaner also cleans cache and cookies from browsers and keeps those tidy.
I also run a full scan for viruses – using the built in Windows tools.
Removing Unwanted Apps
A final step here is to make sure that I don’t have any unwanted or unused software on my PC. I might install something for a specific task, or to solve a particular problem. Using your regular detox slot to remove those apps.
A final step I’d recommend, in line with the detox completed on IOS devices last time around, would be to reduce the number of popups that you get.
I run my PC in quiet mode, by clicking on the notification icon in the System tray and selecting the quiet hours icon.
In my browser (Chrome), I am very deliberate about which notifications are allowed – you can check this by clicking on:
SETTINGS – ADVANCED – CONTENT SETTINGS – NOTIFICATIONS
From there you can review which sites are allowed to pop up notifications and you can set your browser to always ask you if notifications should be switched on. I have switched most of mine off, save a few work specific ones on my laptop. My home desktop has NO notifications at all, allowing me to focus on writing when I need to.
Digital Detox in Windows
By completing these steps, I’ve made sure that my Windows machines are clutter free. I regularly schedule much of this work and keep a close eye on anything that might disturb my workflow.
Have you undergone a digital detox – how did you do it? Share your ideas and wisdom in the comments, I’d love to learn from you.