Today is “National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day,” created by the Personal Computer Museum in Ontario, Canada.
It’s common to think about cleaning out the house, the car or the closet with clothes from high school stored in it, though there is often one place in our lives that is most used yet also most neglected — our computers. This is especially important in a time where many are still working virtually from home.
According to a study conducted by OnePoll in collaboration with Western Digital, 62% of Americans say their desktops are “very” cluttered. Two of the top reasons for avoiding a digital cleanse include the fear of deleting something that will be needed later on and that it’s time-consuming.
However, the benefits to cleaning and organizing files on digital devices are worth considering:
— They will run faster: The more things one has stored on their computer, the slower their machine will run because more computer memory (RAM) is being used. Think about RAM as the horsepower in a car; the heavier the car is, the more horsepower that will be needed to travel. Take the weight out of the trunk and give the computer a tune-up and it will start running like a champ.
— More space: Cleaning out a closet creates more space, right? After cleaning a device, there will be more room to store those important work files, instead of grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe that should’ve been printed out five years ago.
— A new beginning: Remember that fresh feeling of first opening the device and how fast it ran? Empty the trash, delete those files and start off organized this time. Create folders and label documents in a way that makes them easy to find.
Decided to clean up your computer and need to know where to start?
— Backup/delete files: After deleting all the files that aren’t needed, transfer the files that may be needed in the future onto a secured hard drive and delete them from the computer. Now all the clutter is gone and important information is saved, though not weighing down computer performance.
— Organize: Tidy up the desktop and organize files into folders to make them easier to find in the future.
Now that the computer is neat and tidy, the Pennsylvania Office of Administration has some tips for making working from home more sustainable for the long haul.
While working from home can have many benefits, Kourtney Whitehead, senior contributor, mentions some drawbacks, such as difficulty setting boundaries and checking-out of work at the end of the day.
In regards to boundaries, Whitehead purports that “without the action of leaving the office, you may find yourself harboring the feeling that you are constantly available to your boss and teammates and you may end up working longer than you should.”
One way to avoid this is to create a specific trigger that lets one know it’s time to end work for the day. For example, create a dedicated workspace and if possible, do not use that specific computer during non-work hours. Additionally, Whitehead recommends putting on a hat or a scarf during the beginning of the workday, and taking it off to signify the end of the workday.
Whitehead also mentions the importance of creating an effective workspace, whether it be by reorganizing, changing rooms or changing aesthetics.
“Take the time now to consider if you might be more effective working in another room, facing a different direction or using other office products,” she explained. “Yes it’s a hassle to reconfigure your space and it may feel strange to pick up a new routine, but don’t simply accept that what you have been doing is the only way.”