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Decluttering Your Digital Life

Just as physical clutter can cloud the mind and hinder your focus, so can digital clutter. It takes up an inordinate amount of mental space and bandwidth.

Digital photo libraries are the best example of this that I can think of.

The digital version: Your inbox has thousands of messages. Your smartphone notification window is alerting you to 6 different social media apps that need your attention. You have 19 tabs open, each with some purpose that you’ve probably already forgotten. You have a conversation going with a family member in a variety of different places — text message, Facebook messenger, email — and you can’t keep track of what was last said.

The digital FOMO - your best intentions tell you that you will read those articles and you will respond to those emails and you will make sure you read your whole Twitter feed but that is a lot of mental overhead. Ideally you have a setup that limits those inputs so that a) they do not become overwhelming and b) they are all noteworthy so dealing with them is not a waste of time.

It is also nice to keep the option of declaring bankruptcy available. If your Instapaper queue is too long, determine a cut-off date and delete every article that predates it.

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