8 tips to Declutter Your Digital Clutter as an ADHD Mom

Are you an ADHD mom struggling to manage your digital clutter? You’re not alone. Between endless photos, recipes, overflowing email inboxes, countless files, screenshots and apps, it can feel overwhelming to keep everything straight. As someone who’s been there, and is a freelancer, I can tell you that there are ways to simplify your digital life, even with the challenges ADHD brings.

In this post, I’ll share practical tips to help you declutter and organize your digital world. We’ll tackle everything from managing your digital photos and organizing recipes to keeping your email inbox under control, sorting out files on your computer, and making the best use of apps. Let’s create a stress-free digital environment that works for us, not against us.

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1. Understand why Digital Clutter is an issue for ADHD Moms

Living in a digital world can be overwhelming, especially for ADHD moms like us. The constant bombardment of information, endless notifications, and the chaos of digital clutter can significantly impact our ability to manage our ADHD symptoms effectively. Let’s explore the profound impact of digital clutter on our daily lives as moms dealing with ADHD and how it can exacerbate our already challenging symptoms.

An email inbox icon which says full

Impact of Digital Clutter on ADHD Management

The clutter in our digital lives isn’t just a mere inconvenience; it can have a real impact on our ability to focus, stay organized, and manage our time efficiently. As ADHD moms, the presence of excessive digital clutter can overwhelm our already taxed cognitive resources, making it even harder to juggle our multiple responsibilities.

The constant distractions from unorganized digital spaces can heighten our stress levels, leading to increased forgetfulness, impulsivity, and difficulty in completing tasks. Imagine your brain as a web browser with 100 plus tabs open – everything runs slower, and it’s hard to find what you need. By understanding how digital clutter affects our ADHD management, we can take steps to regain control and create a more conducive digital environment.

Here are some ways digital clutter impacts ADHD management:

  • Increased Forgetfulness: Important reminders can get lost in the flood of notifications and emails. I used to miss several important emails as my inbox had reached 16k unread emails and was out of space.
  • Heightened Stress: The visual chaos of unorganized files and apps can make us feel anxious and overwhelmed. I had several folders which said documents, one on MS Onedrive, one on my local storage and one somewhere else which I had no idea. Imagine finding an important document across different folders and the time I had wasted?
  • Reduced Focus: Jumping between different tasks and notifications makes it difficult to concentrate on what truly matters.

Taking the time to declutter our digital spaces can help mitigate these challenges, allowing us to feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

2. Identify the Different Types of Digital Clutter

Digital clutter comes in various forms, each adding to the chaos in our lives. From a multitude of photos filling up our camera rolls to endless recipes saved across different apps and websites, the digital clutter can quickly spiral out of control. Recognizing these different types of digital clutter is the first step towards decluttering and organizing our digital lives effectively.

Let’s break down the common types of digital clutter that can overwhelm any ADHD mom:

  • Photos/Videos: Thousands of photos and videos can take up significant space and make it hard to find specific memories. `Its even worse if you had a photography hobby like me at some point in life.
  • Recipes: Recipes saved in different apps or bookmarked websites can be challenging to sort through when you need them. You may even have many recipes stored as screenshots that have been long forgotten.
  • Emails: An overflowing inbox can cause missed important messages and increase stress.
  • Files: Randomly scattered files on your computer or cloud storage can be difficult to organize and retrieve.
  • Apps: Numerous unused apps can slow down your devices and clutter your home screens.

Understanding these categories makes it easier to tackle them one by one. Start with one category that feels most overwhelming and gradually move on to others. This systematic approach can help create a more manageable and serene digital environment.

3. Organizing Digital Photos and Memories

Managing a huge collection of digital photos and memories is a common challenge for many ADHD moms.

  • Delete unnecessary photos: Regularly go through your photos and delete those that are blurry, duplicates, or irrelevant. Rather than scrolling through social media, take 5 minutes each day and delete some unwanted images on your phone. I start with the screenshots folder as it’s the easiest to purge and holds mostly necessary photos.
  • Create organized folders: Sort your photos into folders labeled by location, or people. Google photos is a free app which lets you easily sort This makes it easier to find specific photos later.
  • Use cloud storage: Services like Google Photos or Dropbox not only save space on your device but also offer easy sharing and backup options. Google photos is a service I recommend and have used for over 10 years.

4. Managing Digital Recipes and Meal Planning Apps

When it comes to managing digital recipes and meal planning apps, simplification is key. Streamline your recipe collections by categorizing them into folders based on meal types or dietary preferences. Optimize meal planning apps by creating weekly or monthly meal plans in advance to save time and reduce decision fatigue. Regularly review and update your recipe collections to remove unused or duplicate recipes, keeping only those that align with your current cooking preferences.

  • Categorize recipes: Sort your digital recipes into folders based on meal types (breakfast, lunch, dinner) or dietary needs (gluten-free, vegetarian) or even theme of the day (Eg. Meatless Mondays).
  • Plan ahead: Use meal planning apps to create weekly or monthly meal plans. This will save you time and reduce your daily decision-making burden.
  • Purge regularly: Review your saved recipes periodically and delete those you no longer use or need.
A person pressing a folder on a digital screen

5.Tackling Email Inbox Overload

An overflowing email inbox can be a source of stress and distraction for ADHD moms. To declutter your email inbox effectively, start by unsubscribing from unnecessary mailing lists and promotions. Set a goal of unsubscribing from 5 email lists per week until your email is at a manageble level. Create folders or labels to categorize and prioritize incoming emails based on urgency or importance. Take time each day to respond to emails promptly. You can apply the two-minute rule here. Don’t forget to archive or delete old messages to maintain a clean and organized inbox. Consider using email management tools or filters to automate the sorting process and reduce manual effort.

  • Unsubscribe: Regularly unsubscribe from newsletters and promotions that you no longer find useful.
  • Use folders and labels: Organize your emails into folders or use labels to prioritize them. For example, have a folder for ‘urgent’, ‘to read’, and ‘archived’.
  • Daily maintenance: Spend a few minutes each day to clear your inbox, respond to emails, and archive older messages. This can be easily done through your phone if you use a service like Gmail.
  • Automate sorting: Use email management tools or filters to automatically categorize incoming emails.

6. Organizing Files on Your Computer

Keeping your computer files organized is essential for optimal productivity and efficiency. Begin by categorizing files into folders based on projects, topics, or file types to create a clear folder structure. Archive or delete files that are no longer relevant or needed to free up storage space and reduce clutter. Regularly back up important files to external storage or cloud services to ensure data security and accessibility. Implement a naming convention for files to easily identify and locate them when necessary.

  • Categorize files: Create a folder structure based on projects, topics, or file types. I have sorted my folders mainly based on work in progress and completed work. Then I further sort by client name and again by project, as I may work on several projects with the same client. Everytime I save a file as an updated version, I would put the date so that I can remove duplicates later.
  • Regular archiving: Move old or unnecessary files to an archive folder or delete them to clean up space. You can use “Waste Management Wednesdays” for a weekly decluttering of the digital files. Read more on themed days of the week to learn about waste management Wednesdays.
  • Back up regularly: Use external storage devices or cloud services to back up your important files. The last thing you want is to lose all your important files.
  • Consistent naming: Use clear and consistent naming conventions for your files to make them easy to find. Examples include client name and date or project name and date.
  • Bonus tip: If you are using windows, pin the main folders you use to the left hand side pane like in the image below. Also you can preview files like in the right hand side pane as shown in the below image, which includes PDF and word documents to easily move files across folders.
A screenshot of the left and right panes of windows explorer

7. Streamlining Apps and Digital Tools

With a plethora of apps and digital tools available, it’s crucial to streamline their usage to avoid overwhelm and maximize productivity. Assess your current apps and digital tools to identify those that are essential and beneficial for your daily tasks. Remove or disable unused or redundant apps to declutter your devices and minimize distractions. Organize apps into folders on your home screen based on categories or frequency of use to streamline access and navigation. Regularly review and update your app selection to ensure a clean and efficient digital environment.

  • Assess app usage: Identify which apps are essential and which you can do without.

For android phones: In the Settings app, tap Apps, and then, from the Apps page, tap Unused Apps

For apple phones: Follow the guide to remove unwanted apps on iPhone devices.

  • Declutter your home screen: Organize apps into folders by category or frequency of use. I have separated based on communications (social media and messaging apps), entertainment (music and video apps), learning (language learning apps) and productivity.
  • Regular reviews: Periodically review your apps to remove those you no longer need or use. You could use Waste Management Wednesday for this task. Read more about themed days of the week
  • Simplify tools: Stick to digital tools that you are comfortable with and that enhance your productivity.

By implementing these strategies to systematically declutter your digital life, you can create a more organized and efficient digital workspace that supports your productivity and well-being as an ADHD mom.

For more tips on digital organization and decluttering, you can explore resources from the declutterbuzz

8. Creating Sustainable Digital Decluttering Habits

In the whirlwind of digital chaos that can overwhelm us as ADHD moms, establishing sustainable decluttering habits is key to maintaining a sense of order and calm in our digital lives. By incorporating regular cleanups and utilizing the right tools, we can create a streamlined digital environment that supports our focus and productivity.

8.1 Establishing a Routine for Regular Digital Cleanups

Setting up a routine for consistent digital cleanups can prevent the accumulation of clutter that leads to feelings of overwhelm. Find a schedule that works for you, whether it’s dedicating a few minutes each day or setting aside a specific day each week for decluttering sessions. By making digital cleanups a habit, you can stay on top of clutter before it snowballs into a daunting task.

  • Daily Maintenance: Spend a few minutes at the end of each day to declutter your digital spaces. You could take a few minutes from scrolling social media. This could involve organizing emails, deleting unnecessary photos, or clearing out unused apps.
  • Weekly Cleanup: Designate a day each week (as I mentioned about Waste Management Wednesday above) to tackle more extensive decluttering tasks. Set aside dedicated time to sort through files, organize digital documents, and streamline your digital tools.

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining a clutter-free digital environment. By incorporating regular cleanups into your routine, you can prevent digital clutter from piling up and overwhelming you in the future.

A robot taking a file from a group of files

8.2 Utilizing Digital Organization Tools and Techniques

In the digital age, we are fortunate to have a variety of tools and techniques at our disposal to aid in decluttering and organizing our digital spaces. Leveraging digital organization tools can simplify the process and make it more manageable to maintain a clutter-free environment.

  • Cloud Storage Solutions: Platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud offer secure storage options for files, photos, and documents. By storing data in the cloud, you can free up space on your devices and access your files from anywhere.
  • Task Management Apps: Utilize task management apps such as Trello, Asana, or Todoist to keep track of your to-dos and stay organized. These tools can help you prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and track your progress effectively.
  • Automation Features: Explore automation features available in various tools and apps to streamline repetitive tasks. Automation can help reduce manual effort, save time, and ensure consistency in your digital workflows.

By embracing digital organization tools and techniques, you can create a structured and efficient digital ecosystem that supports your productivity and decluttering efforts.

For more insights on digital organization tools and methods, you can explore resources from Zapier’s guide on digital productivity tools and discover new ways to enhance your digital decluttering journey.

Remember, the goal is to create a manageable digital environment that supports you. Embrace these habits, use helpful digital tools, and establish a routine to maintain a clutter-free digital life. Trust yourself—you’ve got this!

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