Procrastinating is something we all like to dabble in now and then, some of us more than others. But putting things off doesn’t always have to do with deadlines.
Sometimes it’s an overflowing email inbox, 100 voicemails you’ve listened to and don’t know what to do with, or a pile of books doubling as a paperweight. From technological clutter to actual clutter, spring is the perfect time to stop putting off what you should have cleaned up months ago.
Clean your inbox
Let’s start with your email. There’s lots of clever metaphors (your ever-growing closet, your out-of-control fridge, that pile of mail by your door) we could use to illustrate how out of control your inbox is, but we’ll control ourselves and say the following: It’s time to reel it in.
Unsubscribe from lists you never joined (and those you have but are no longer relevant or interesting). Do mass deletions of social media notifications and meeting reminders. Make some folders and organize a little. While you’re at it, peek into your junk mail to make sure nothing important slipped in there.
Whatever the state of your inbox, don’t despair. Regaining control of it (or just, you know, gaining control for the first time) is possible. We love this step-by-step guide, which promises to get things orderly in just an hour.
(While we’re discussing email, how about finally sprucing up your email signature? If you don’t have one, or don’t have a good one, they’re absolutely essential.)
Clean your desktop
This is something we briefly covered earlier but bears repeating: a cluttered computer desktop can, well, make you feel cluttered. It’s the first thing you see when you fire up your computer and all those icons everywhere—all the files you “temporarily” saved—make things you actually need nearly impossible to find.
Start by deleting things you definitely don’t need. Then take a few moments to categorize what you’re saving on your desktop and create general folders, including a “temporary” folder for items you’ll only need briefly. Apple has a fantastic guide to help take advantage of all of its desktop-organizing tools. And this Windows how-to walks you through quick, simple tips to get your PC desktop in tip-top shape.
Clean your actual desktop
Whether you work from a home office or in a cubicle farm, a clean desk is a clean mind. Items on your desk should only be things you use on a daily basis. Take some time to evaluate what’s taking up space and organize (or toss) accordingly.
If your desk is full of books, it may be time to invest in a shelving system. If bills are overrunning your workspace, sign up for paperless billing. Receipts? There’s a number of apps and gadgets you can get to scan and organize. So go forth and clean your cubicle. And, if you work from home, dusting, wiping, and disinfecting works wonders, too.
Clean up your voicemail
We hear your collective groaning! But voicemail, like business phones in general, is still a thing.
Yes, they’re kind of a pain to listen to and then you don’t delete them. Or maybe you don’t listen to them and just call people back. Whatever your strategy (or non-strategy), once you listen/delete accordingly, a voicemail-to-email service will take care of the issue once and for all.
While you’re dusting off your voicemail, if you don’t have a personalized greeting, it’s time to set one up. If that, too, annoys you (which, of course it does because it’s one more thing on your endless to-do list), try a fun text-to-greeting tool that lets you write your greeting, choose a voice, and even add sound effects. Winner winner chicken dinner! And you thought work wasn’t fun!