The new year is nearly here, so what better time to declutter your digital life? Here are 12 things you can do to start 2013 off right.
1. Clean up the people you follow on Twitter
If you ignore Twitter because your feed is a firehouse of self-promoting spamminess, go in there and unfollow the people you’re not interested in or that tweet too much. Then go and follow people that say things you want to read. These two things (unfollowing the spammers and following only the people I’m really interested in) have totally transformed how much I use and enjoy Twitter. My favorite account I’ve followed recently is @KenJennings.
2. Unfriend your annoying “friends”
Clean up your Facebook friends. Unfriend those people you don’t care about or that clog up your news feed.
2. Clean up your permissions
You know how you can log in to different services with your Twitter or Facebook account? And you know how you have to give your permission before those services can access your Twitter or Facebook information? Now is a great time to clean up those permissions and revoke access to the programs and apps you don’t use anymore. Head on over to MyPermissions.org and then click the icon of the service you want to clean up. You’ll be taken to the appropriate permissions page.
3. Clean up your bookmarks
I’m an avid bookmarker, and the result is that I end up with dozens or even hundreds of unsorted bookmarks. The other day I went through and deleted all the ones I didn’t care about anymore, moved all the ones that I wanted to save for later over to Evernote (I just pasted their URLs into a new note), and only kept the ones that I regularly access.
4. Clean up your domains, WordPress installations, etc.
I have a domain name buying and hoarding problem. I’ve set a cap at 40 domains and I’m at 39 or so now. But there are several in there that I should just go and delete. I bought them for projects that I lost enthusiasm for, or they’re for projects I have since shut down.
Along the same lines, I have a bunch of WordPress blogs and installations that I don’t use anymore. Now is a good time to go and delete all of those. The same goes for any other unused accounts you may have.
5. Update anything that needs updating
Make sure all of your software and apps are up to date. Update all WordPress installations and all WordPress plugins to their latest versions.
I use the free WP Remote service and plugin to manage my WordPress and plugin updates. It’s great.
6. Clean out your inbox
Maybe you want to get down to Inbox Zero. Or maybe you just want to get to the point where you don’t dread opening up your email and seeing 34,752 unread messages. Whatever your goal is, get to work. Clean up your email inbox and make it manageable again. Send and reply to those emails you’ve been putting off.
7. Organize your notes
If you’re like me, you probably have notes everywhere—on your phone, in a notebook, in Evernote, in text documents, in Google Docs, on the back of your hand, etc. Go through and organize them all. I use Evernote as my main idea/note hub and transfer everything into it.
8. Clean up your computer
Delete files you no longer need. Organize your files and folders. Uninstall programs you don’t use anymore. Neatly arrange everything on your computer’s desktop.
9. Purge your e-library
I hoard ebooks in addition to domain names. It’s especially hard for me since I run a free Kindle book site. I have hundreds and hundreds of Kindle books that I will probably never read, and many of them are crowding out the ones I really do want to read. I also have about a brazillion PDF ebooks I should get rid of.
10. Unsubscribe from newsletters
I know, I know. Sometimes it’s just easier to delete those unsolicited emails in your inbox than it is to open them up, find the unsubscribe link, and opt out of the emails. But do it. It’s worth it.
11. Clean up your RSS reader
If you subscribe to a bunch of different blogs in Google Reader or something similar, head in there and make some cuts. Do you REALLY need to be subscribed to those 12 different technology news blogs?
12. Clean up other digital clutter
Go through your Facebook likes and get rid of the likes you don’t care about anymore. Update your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media profiles. Delete old Google Analytics site profiles. Cancel any paid services that you no longer need or use. Shutter those projects that aren’t going anywhere or that take up too much time.
Is there anything I left off the list?
As always, I’m on Twitter.