De-Cluttering Your Digital Life

Last week I did something incredibly stupid: I attempted to make changes to my computer’s partitions without first backing up my data. Something went wrong and it wiped out nearly 20GB of data.

Ouch.

Luckily for me, I had backed up most of my major files a few weeks beforehand and also made copies on my work computer. I also managed to recover a lot of my deleted files (free software PhotoRec was a lifesaver), but, and this is the major but, this sudden major deletion of my files made me realize just how much of it I didn’t really need.

It reminded me of something I read on 43Folders’ War on Clutter from the book It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh:

The things you own are a distraction to getting started on the right path. The key to getting — and staying — organized is to look beyond the stuff and imagine the life you could be living. Put most simply: It’s about how you see your life before all else.

Since I’ve deleted the digital clutter off my hard disk, I’ve spent less time on my computer. Freeing up my digital space has also made me feel lighter and look towards getting new resources that serve me rather than hold me. What are you holding on to in your own life that you don’t need anymore?

P.S. Want to de-clutter your stuff too but in a way far less traumatizing than mine? Read Lifehacker’s Top 10 Ways to De-clutter Your Digital Life.

6 Responses to “I Was Stressed Every Time I Sat In Front of My Computer Until…”

  1. qeek
    August 26 2007 at 12:20 pm #

    Funny. A few months ago, I’ve used the very same Windows theme with ObjectDock at the bottom.

    Anyway I think your desktop could be simplified even more.

    – Is ObjectDock really necessary? You can use the Start menu.
    – Use online calendar (like GCal) instead of Rainlendar, and open it only when needed
    – Hide all tray icons
    – Don’t display the date next to the clock :)

  2. Alvin Soon
    August 26 2007 at 2:32 pm #

    Hi qeek,

    I love the dock because it’s a much faster way for me to get to the programs I want. After this post I set it to auto-hide though, which works much better (by the way it’s the resource-light Y’z Dock not ObjectDock).

    I like having my calender on the desktop because I have to go out for events regularly and I like having the reminders there. Plus it integrates nicely with the GTD method of having only time-sensitive tasks in the calender.

    I like having the date on the clock! I know it adds to the clutter but it’s just me – it reminds me of a Mac :p

  3. rob
    August 29 2007 at 3:53 am #

    Thanks for the link to desktopography – superb site and I’ve got myself a nice new desktop. The actual link in your article is wrong i think – it should be http://www.desktopography.net/

  4. Alvin Soon
    August 29 2007 at 11:06 pm #

    Oops! You’re right, Rob, thanks! The link has been amended.

  5. paket
    September 1 2007 at 12:06 am #

    Complexity and disorder is the natural way of things. Real life doesn’t fit into orthogonal containers. Clutter represents uncertainty, mankind’s greatest fear. Learn to accept it, appreciate it, love it!

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