Seven steps to digital decluttering

When it comes to setting up your workspace, there’s more to consider than just your desk and chair. Technology plays a vital role in how efficient and productive your workspace can be, and there are plenty of techniques to keep your technology organised and clutter-free. By implementing these techniques, you can start the new financial year feeling rejuvenated and set up for success.

Step 1: File, file, file

To truly declutter, you need to organise more than just hard-copy folders. Your computer's digital desktop is just as important as the physical space around it. Sensibly organising your desktop icons and client folders will make locating files easier and ensure your hard work isn’t lost.

Think of your computer folders as a family tree: start at the top with the client or project, then create additional separations within the main folder for categories such as ‘Finance’, ‘Admin.’ or ‘Planning’. Once that's done, simply file your documents accordingly.

The best way to organise your filing system is to generate fewer folders, and make them workflow-based. Use clear, detailed and short file names. This will make filing, sorting, and finding them easier.

Step 2: Wave goodbye to wires

Random cords and wires can lead to a lot of clutter and mess – and the main culprits are usually computer desktops, laptop chargers, keyboards and mouses. Though desktops will need to be plugged into a power outlet, there are numerous Bluetooth-enabled wireless keyboards and mouses which help streamline your workspace and remove pesky wires.

Start by upgrading your keyboard and mouse with wireless Bluetooth-enabled devices to create a cord-free space. Then tidy up any remaining desktop and monitor cables by untangling them and using cord straps to contain them in tight, organised bundles.

Wireless devices cut through clutter

Wireless devices will make your workspace feel cleaner and less cluttered.

Step 3: Make a stand with your laptop

There are many great advantages to using a laptop – the most notable being portability. However, when you return to your desk, it’s important to ensure your laptop is set up ergonomically. This is where laptop stands come in. A laptop stand should be used to elevate the screen to the correct eye level height to promote good posture throughout the day. With a few external keyboards and mouse accessories attached, you'll be equipped to work better for longer.

Step 4: Enhance your screen space

A monitor is a great way to expand your on-screen real estate. For laptop users, consider using a monitor for a higher-resolution solution when you need to work from your desk. Adding an additional screen is simple: all you need to do is connect it straight to your laptop, sit back, and reap the wonders it does for your neck, back and eyes! A second screen can also lead to huge productivity gains. For example, you can have your emails open on one screen while doing project work on the other.

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Larger screens and computer stands make your set up more functional and ergonomic.

Step 5: Back it up

Your digital data is often your most important resource, so it’s crucial to back up this information regularly. Some portable hard drives have pre-installed ‘backup’ software to take the legwork out of keeping you protected. There are a number of backup solutions and hard drive products on the market, so there's no reason to leave your information – and potentially your business – at risk.


Step 6: Reach for the data sky (with Cloud storage)

The ‘Cloud’ is often touted as the storage solution by bigger businesses, but many people are still unsure what it is or how it can help them. In its simplest form, the Cloud is a storage system that sits on the internet rather than on your computer’s hard drive. It provides the same levels of security as a hard drive, but the big advantages are reliability and accessibility – as long as you have an internet connection, the Cloud lets you access files on the go from any device.

Cloud storage is strongly recommended as an off-site back up, as it gives confidence and peace of mind to both you and your customers: if there’s a network failure or other data-jeopardising issue in your workplace, you'll have backup copies of all your important documents.

Step 7: Protect your tech

Investing in the latest and best technology is all in vain if it isn't sufficiently protected. And the best way to go about this is to be vigilant with digital security.

First and foremost: keep your security system turned on to protect your device from hackers. Most operating systems incorporate firewall protection, but it's important to make sure it's activated at all times.

Install and update your antivirus software regularly. Internet security software detects and protects against any obscure or dangerous software that can irreparably damage your systems. Make sure you protect not just your desktop computers, but your laptops, tablets and phones as well.

Be careful with your downloads. A common mistake people still make is opening attachments, links, and files from unknown sources. This can lead to lethal virus and system shut-downs. The rule of thumb is if you don’t know who the sender is, don’t open any attachments or documents.

Finally—because it's not just what's on the inside that's important—consider product insurance to protect your portable devices from accidental damage, loss, or theft.



Trevor Long

Trevor Long is a technology journalist with over 20 years’ experience in the media. Trevor hosts a weekly radio show on 2UE called Talking Tech and is often seen providing technology commentary across Channel 9’s, A Current Affair and the Today Show nationally. Trevor is the co-founder and publisher of EFTM, an online site covering all things motoring, lifestyle and technology and produces two of the most popular podcasts in Australia.