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Decluttering your gadgets

A neat, tidy deskIt’s still early in the year, which is often a good time to start fresh by doing some decluttering — and not just of our homes and workspaces. What about the gadgets we use daily: our computers, tablets, and phones?

I was reminded that this is a good practice late last month, when I read Anthony Karcz’s “Ring in the New Year With a Decluttered iPhone.” Though he focuses specifically on the iPhone, he makes a key point that applies to other phones as well — and to computers and tablets:

Old apps, especially those forgotten by their developers, are threats.

If you don’t regularly use an app, why leave it on your computer/phone/tablet, especially if the developers no longer update it regularly? Such an unused app is harmless at best, and at worst is trouble waiting to happen.

I took Mr. Karcz’s advice, and did an inventory of my machines. There were several apps that I wasn’t actively using, and I’ve removed them.

I’ve also done some mental decluttering by tweaking some of my app settings, most notably on my phone. I’m one of those people who’s very easily distracted by email (Natalie wrote about both distractions and disruptions a while back), and I’m especially prone to be distracted by it when I’m constantly getting notifications. So I’ve disabled email notifications on all my devices (including the app badge count on my phone). The result has been that I’m much more intentional about checking (or not checking!) email, and I’m able to stay more focused on my work.

What about you? What kinds of decluttering have you implemented in your own life, and which have been most helpful to you? Let us know in the comments.

Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user John Liu

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