Downloads & Trash

This is the third article of a series. Read the reason behind the series here and learn how to clear your desktops for focused work here.

Let’s talk about two folders that are more prone to getting out of control—more than any other folder on your computer.

That’s right, your downloads folder and your trash folder.

Your downloads folder is like your desktop folder. I recommend that you think of it as only a pass-through folder and create strict guidelines for yourself on how long a file can remain in that folder.

The more you can convince yourself that the file must not live in the downloads or desktop folder after you complete the action you were in the process of doing when you downloaded the file initially, the better.

This way, you won’t have a folder full of files to process.

The more you can delete “processing” time from your life by taking care of tasks that are five minute or less in the moment, the better.

We’ll talk about this more in future articles, but you have your downloads, desktop, and trash folders as a part of your closing ritual. If not on a daily basis, certainly on a weekly basis during your Friday closing ritual.

Why is this so important?

It creates the space for you to not waste hours at a time organizing files when they are no longer fresh in your mind.

You will no longer spend time searching for files because they will always be exactly where they are meant to be. You will have a process for items you need to come back to later, having them live where they belong, rather than in this in-between file purgatory.

Plus, clearing files from your desktop and trash will create more space on your computer and improve your laptop’s battery life.

You will not have the continual mind drama looking at the disorganized files and think, “I really need to do something with those” every time you see any of these spaces on your computer.

It’s essentially like we’re not allowing you to have an overflowing trash can in your office and asking you to stop keeping stacks of papers on your desk.

What’s not to love?

If you are having trouble keeping these clear, ask yourself what the root issue is with your workflow.

Do you need to have a way to more easily access files you upload on a regular basis?
Do you need to have a home for certain types of files you do need to save?
Do you need to create a habit the moment after you use the downloaded item to file or trash it?

Figure out what is creating that chaotic folder so you can solve it where it starts, rather than wasting more time creating another process for organizing and reorganizing.

Send me a DM on Instagram if you get stuck so I can help you solve it ASAP!

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