At the start of each season, we all at least think about the act of decluttering.
With the clean queen, Marie Kondo on our TV, laptop and mobile screens, most of us are forced to think about our lack of organizational skills and the number of items we continue to hoard, even though we haven’t used them for the past six months.
It’s common to think about sorting through our wardrobe to discard items which no longer fit or suit us and to pack away items inappropriate for warmer or colder weather. It’s also natural to rearrange our living spaces and go through our physical belongs, asking ourselves, “what sparks joy?” — Marie’s favorite method.
However, one place we often forget to declutter is our digital lives — with the very devices we use to watch Marie talk about decluttering full to the brim with files, folders, and data.
You may need a little gentle persuasion to start tackling these well-used gadgets, which is where our nine statistics come into play. We hope after reading them, you’ll include a clean-up of your online life, as well as your real one — since the two are becoming so intertwined these days.
- 3.9 Million Americans Work from Home — according to a FlexJobs report. What’s this mean for our digital devices? Well, we’re beginning to use our homes for multiple purposes, including as an office and a boardroom.
Take Action: Assign work devices to specific rooms of the home. For example, if you work on a laptop, this device (if possible) should be left in a “work zone” so that you can effectively separate work from pleasure.
- A Third of Americans Live in a Household with 3+ Smart Devices. That’s right, research on household devices produced some interesting findings — including, 84% of households that say they have a smartphone at home, 80% a laptop and 68% a tablet. Plenty of households have all three of these devices working simultaneously.
Take Action: Reevaluate whether or not you need multiple devices in one household. If your home is becoming too clogged up with smartphones and tablets, don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to recycle them.
- 92% of Senior Executive Use a Smartphone For Business. This figure — along with countless other statistics on how mobiles are used — is courtesy of Blue Corona’s round-up of 61 Mobile Marketing Statistics. This is yet another stat that shows how the lines between business and leisure are increasingly blurred. In modern day business, leaders are taking less time off work than ever – with 70% of small business owners under-utilising annual vacations. What can business leaders do about this?
Take Action: It’s time to invest in a virtual landline number. This way, business calls, corporate contacts, and scheduling can be locked tight in a mobile application giving you autonomy over your mobile device. It also allows leaders to share service responsibility, freeing up their time to actually make the most of a Christmas or Thanksgiving break.
- Apple iCloud Boasts 782M Users. All Apple fans are relying on Apple’s inbuilt iCloud feature, which everybody uses, but nobody understands. After all, where do things go when they end up in the cloud? As technical as Apple’s iCloud might seem, it also has some downsides as the guys at Macworld have spotted. The iCloud doesn’t automatically back up all of your data.
Take Action: The key here is not to put all of your eggs in one basket. Use iCloud as an extra measure (but not as your sole source of file protection). Instead, you should be using local backup software such as Apple’s Time Machine. This does come at an extra cost per month — somewhere around the $5 subscription mark — but this is a small price to pay to protect sensitive files, confidential information and your catalog of family photos.
- 66% of Non-Experts Never Install Software Updates. If you’re feeling embarrassed that you’re not too clued up on cybersecurity, don’t panic — 36% of experts make the same mistakes as you. While software updates exist to fix bugs while speeding up and enhancing the user’s experience, they’re also developed to protect against hackers. Cybercriminals are like normal thieves in that they’re opportunistic, and they often take advantage of out-of-date flaws.
Take Action: It’s simple. The next time you get that pop-up to install the latest version of (X) software, refrain from selecting the “Maybe Later” option. While a software update takes around thirty minutes — it’s worth the wait to protect your online safety.
- 29% of US Workers Have an Alternative Work Arrangement as Their Primary Job. Thanks to the gig economy, more people are choosing to fill flexible roles, working for companies like Uber and Lyft to make a living. These jobs (which tend to be remote) often require people to make use of their personal devices to download apps and relevant software programs.
Take Action: Be upfront and ask your new employer what support they can give you to help you afford an appropriate laptop or mobile device. If the company you work with isn’t willing to assist you, it might be time to consider setting up as a sole trader and buying digital assets as a business. This route is cheaper and rewards you with added benefits like extended warranty and discounted insurance.
- 57% of People Judge Their Coworkers on How Messy or Clean Their Workspace Is. Your desk might be tidy, but how is your desktop looking? If you’re the type of person who has thousands of unused files floating about on your home screen, it might be time to rethink what this says about your level of professionalism, as a new article by Inc shares how a messy desk can relate to poor productivity.
Take Action: It’s clear that you need to sort out your existing files and put an organizational system in place to take care of your digital documents in the future. But where should you start? Just as you might sort through different categories of physical items and put them into boxes, you can do the same thing on a Mac by color coding your files.
- Most Smartphone Users Have 25-30 Apps but Only Use Five of Them Regularly. With different apps becoming available on the App Store each day, it’s easy to get carried away by a downloading spree. In reality, smartphone users only use about 20% of the applications on their phone.
Take Action: Take some time to sort through your existing applications and consider the benefit vs. the data storage of the download. Pick a time to do this when you aren’t tempted to get lost in the internet — such as when your mobile is on flight mode during a plane ride.
- 82% of People Believe if They Were More Organized, Their Quality of Life Would Improve. While not a strictly digital statistic, this widespread opinion goes to show how impactful the act of decluttering is. In the digital age, decluttering shouldn’t be an activity reserved only for your wardrobe, kitchen, and garage — it should target the areas and objects in life that you use the most. For the average American, this means giving your digital devices priority.
Take Action: Set time aside each week or each month for maintenance activities. This can be creating habits like clearing your email inbox and emptying your laptop’s trash. It can also take the form of a more mindful session, where you reevaluate your relationship with digital devices and what changes you might need to make going forward.