Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter


Apr 10 2018

Gold Tape

Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter

Digital Clutter is secretly draining us.

Those tiny digital folders on our desktops are less conspicuous than a desk piled in folders, but they can accumulate clutter nonetheless.

Because it’s so easy to open up a new file, before we know it, we have lists and lists of them. I get overwhelmed by this, and try to wade through the file names with one simple fix:

Add Emojis to file names.

I’m a visual person, and Emojis help me know at a glance what’s inside without having to squint at the text. I use them in…

✉Gmail folders and labels

📓Evernote note and notebook names

🎶iTunes and Spotify playlists

💻the files on my desktop 

📒the Sticky Notes widget on dashboard as bullet points

📝the Notes app on my iPod

👉🏼this very list. Isn’t it easier to understand at a glance?

Some examples

In Gmail, I use emojis to make folders stand out.

Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter

When I join an online programme or course, I assign it an emoji, and use that same one in Evernote.

In Evernote, I use emojis to indicate folders, and to categorise types of file. 

Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter

I include an emoji with every folder name, and within notes, I use one symbols as tags to group themes and types of notes.

In my Drafts notebook(^ above. Enjoy this sneak peek at posts in the making…), I use:

🖥 for blog drafts

📎 for project notes

for email drafts

My General (💖) notebook has a lot of random stuff that I categorise by emoji. I’d rather label them in this way than make separate folders, because too many folders overwhelms me!

🎄 Christmas (like my Christmas music notes & gift log)

🎬 Film (like Mark Kermode’s top films & my Oscar menus)

🎭 Theatre (like my favourite fringe artists & list of Shakespeare plays I’ve seen)

🏠 Home (like a list of my neighbours’ names & my Lorelai-ing Edinburgh note*)

*In case you’re not in on the Gilmore girls reference: it’s my list of local food places, arranged by cuisine, on a quest to discover the best of each.

On Spotify, I use emojis to describe my playlist types.

Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter

I recently switched from iTunes to Spotify, and find the sidebar a bit cluttered, especially with so many shared playlists at my fingertips! When I have the option to spruce them up, I do. I add:

📂 to signify folders, because it isn’t visually clear otherwise. I’m used to a little folder icon in iTunes.

💽 next to a playlist that’s just an album to evoke the nostalgia of my CD shopping!

🚙 for travel mixes. I like to make a mix CD for road trips, and save the playlist to take me back.

🌵 for the Heroine Training Tea Party in Tucson. I make a playlist for each Heroine Training Tea Party I host, and invite each attendee to contribute a song recommendation. I choose a distinct emoji for each event, and also use it in our Pen Pals Facebook group as I welcome each member.

and other mood-evoking emojis to indicate the playlist’s content. (in this case, my hygge playlist)

On my desktop, I use emojis to tell me what those files are doing there.

Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter

🗄describes the folder content (in this case, files to move to my external hard drive at the end of the week)

⏩indicates this is a ‘to do’ task (Steve’s passport size photo for the Two Together Railcard I need to register this week)

🐦reminds me to tweet these hilarious images I found. (huh, that emoji shows up differently on wordpress!)

🖥(remember this from the Evernote drafts?) reminds me that those screenshots are there to use in this very blog post (how meta!)

On my Dashboard, I use emojis as bullet points.

Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter

I keep a note of some favourite emojis to copy/paste, and use some as bullet points for notes.

[Did anyone else notice the “Eclairs Reserved for Chuck Bass” detail in an episode of Gossip Girl? This caught my eye on one of my many rewatches, and it tickled me so much I noted it here.]

On my Notes App, I use emojis to label each note.

Simple Fix for Digital File Clutter

Plus, I only have as many notes as fit on the screen without scrolling, and I wrote about that here!)

What other emoji uses can you think of? Add them to this collection in the comments!


P.S. If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember my Simple Fix series! I’m experimenting with bringing it back…what do you think?

P.P.S. I post spontaneous Simple Fixes on Instagram stories!

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