We’re probably familiar with the Delete button on our keyboards. And all the warnings and alerts that come up when we press that button. They’re trying to warn or inform us that we’re about to lose information, and we’d better be sure we want it to go away. And there can be catastrophic consequences to ignoring those warnings – i.e. data loss.
I’d like to talk about the advantages of hitting Delete. And this applies not only to your computer, but also your tablet or mobile phone, which you may use as much or more than your computer. On those devices also, you can delete apps or content.
And the advantage you can get from deleting things is that is frees up space. And I don’t mean storage space, I mean cognitive space. When you unlock your phone, you might be greeted by a plethora of apps and folders, which have evolved over time. You might have downloaded some out of curiosity, some because friends recommended them, some for work, etc. etc. And over time, these build up and create a mess, just like a messy house.
Keeping your digital spaces clean and orderly can be just as important as keeping your physical spaces clean and orderly. We all know what it’s like when your home is messy and you can’t find the things you need. And beyond that, mess can clutter your mind up. It can make you feel tired or depressed or anxious.
And coming home after work to a clean, orderly house, where everything is where you need it to be, can be refreshing, give you energy, make you feel lighter, and enable you to focus on what you want to focus on. E.g. that brilliant startup idea you’re working on after-hours!
So regularly deleting items on your lists, or files, or apps or anything can be a good practice. I’ve been doing this every month or so. I go through my phone or tablet and purge all the apps that I haven’t used for, say, more than 2 weeks. And after I’ve done this, I’m left with a nice, simple, clear, organised layout. This enables me to think more clearly and access the apps I need. Also, when I’m aware of the apps I do have and why I installed them, then I remember what my more general priorities in life are. And this contributes to me staying focussed on things that matter and not getting swept away.
So in summary: keep your decks clear, both physically and digitally, so you can get to what you need. And then your mind will be clearer, you’ll be able to better focus your attention, and (as a bonus) you’ll be freer to think creatively!