A laptop is an essential piece of equipment for most business owners. Keeping that laptop uncluttered goes a long way towards increasing productivity and reducing stress.

Step One: Let’s start with the laptop itself. A thorough cleaning of the screen and keyboard help reduce germs and can make the laptop itself nicer to use. Use an appropriate screen cleaning cloth so as not to damage the monitor. Carefully use a can of compressed air to clean the crevices and keyboard. Looks better already, right?

Step Two: Move to the desktop. Is it cluttered with icons, saved files, and more?

  • Spend some time moving files into more appropriate folders in “My docs” on a PC or in “Documents” on a MAC. Delete files no longer needed. Back up files not currently need and get them off the hard drive and into long term storage.
  • All those icons on the desktop? Take a good hard look at them – which one are used regularly? Those are the only ones that should be there. Delete all the others.
  • Do you like your desktop background? If not, change it to a photo or scene that inspires or elicits a smile.

Step Three: Consider uninstalling any unnecessary software – especially games and other programs. Check with IT support before deleting any programs or software that look unfamiliar. Common sense things include old printer or scanner software, games, “shareware” or online programs that required the download of an.exe file that is no longer useful or necessary.

Step Four: Go to “My Docs” (again with a PC) or “Documents” in a MAC. In the process of getting organized, it’s best that your paper files match your electronic files match your email files. Meaning – if you have a client and you save information for them, you should have a paper file, an electronic file (in My Docs or Documents) and the same one one in email. It makes it much easier to retrieve information if your files are consistent across all formats.

Step Five: Delete what isn’t necessary – or remove it to a hard drive for later retrieval. The less cluttered your files are on a laptop, the more productive you can be.

Step Six: What’s in the computer bag, anyway? Pull out old papers, useless business cards, half-used notebooks, and any peripheral cords no longer needed. Find a bag of twist ties and neaten up cords that match the current laptop. Add in any extra plugs or attachments for presentations and an extra battery if there is one.

Completing these five steps will help you declutter your laptop, increase your productivity, and reduce stress.

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