Spring Cleaning

Once a year, I make it a point to do a bit of spring cleaning in my workspace and the tools I use on a regular basis. This annual clean up helps me to keep things organized and running smoothly. It also helps me to ensure that tools such as my computer are up-to-date and at their optimum working order. If you’re interested in doing some spring cleaning of your own, here are some steps I recommend:

1. Backing Up

As a tech expert, I find myself dispensing this advice daily but I can’t stress enough the importance of backing up your computer. You should be backing your system up on a regular basis, but I know this is typically one of the first things to go out the window when things get busy. So, if you’re going to do spring cleaning, this is the first step I recommend you take—back everything up!

If you don’t have a system for backing up, now is the time to put one in place. The most common solution is to get an external hard drive and periodically plug it in and initiate a back up. This is a relatively inexpensive solution that is tried and tested. That being said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best solution. If backing up isn’t part of your regular routine, I recommend considering some automatic devices for backing up. There are routers and Wi-Fi connected devices that will automatically back up your system whenever it’s connected to the Wi-Fi network.

2. Maintenance

After you’ve backed up, it’s time to clean up. If you’re using a Windows system, this means defragmenting your system, at the very least. If you have some extra time, I recommend reformatting altogether. This will essentially wipe your system clean and allow you to start over again! This eliminates the clutter on your system which means that your system will run more quickly. After you’ve reformatted, download and install any system updates available for your system.

If you’re using Mac OS, I recommend running the Disk Utility. This will repair permissions on your system and repair any errors on the hard drive. Once you’ve done this, check to make sure that your Mac OS is up to date. If there’s an update available, now is a good time to download and install it.

3. Your Workspace

Cleaning up your system will go a long way but doing some cleaning in your physical workspace will also help you be more efficient. One of the most important things you can do is to organize your cords. We all want to plug new devices and peripherals into our computer and forget about them, but if you don’t have a proper cord management system this means that you will end up with a tangle of cables that make it difficult to be able to tell what’s what. Ultimately, this makes it tricky to upgrade devices or swap out ones that have stopped working properly.

Since you’re spring cleaning, you might as well deal with this issue now. The best way to do this is to unplug everything and plug it back in in a more organized fashion. As you’re doing that, use colour coordinated cable ties to keep things organized. Cable clips can also go a long way to keep cables organized and out of your way. You’ll be surprised at how big of a difference cable management will make in your workspace.

4. Other Devices

If you have other devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, this is a good time to deal with these as well. First and foremost, you wan to make sure they’re being backed up. Many of these devices back up to the cloud automatically. Others will require you to take a more active role by connecting them to your computer via USB and initiating a back up. Once you’ve done that, go through your apps and uninstall any that you’re not using anymore. This will help you to keep your system working efficiently.

By Mike Agerbo

March 11, 2014