Digital Minimalism on Your Mac

Reading an article on The Productivityist, as I often do, the topic of digital decluttering or digital minimalism was broached.

Emilee McGee wrote the article and the first image was of a Mac desktop full of folders and files. It resembled a Windows desktop, as many Windows users use their desktops as file repositories for grabbing something later.

Emilee began to talk about how to declutter your digital life. I want to touch on a few things that I did today to do just that.

  1. Don’t use your desktop as a file repository. Your desktop should be a temporary holding spot for the fewest amount of files. If there is a folder you need to get at constantly, you can keep it on your desktop (my Git_Repositories folder is on my desktop). Otherwise, file those files in your Documents, Pictures, Music, etc. folders or on an external hard drive. [caption id="attachment_504" align="aligncenter" width="673"]digital_minimalism My current desktop[/caption]
  2. Keep a strict folder hierarchy. The deeper your folders go, the harder it is to find things. I have one level of folders and in those folders several that have different purposes, for instance, Website Administration will have subfolders for plugins, themes, SEO, etc. I keep the appropriate files in each folder. Emilee suggests you keep only a couple folders in one, but I find that too limiting.
  3. Use Tags. I had a ton of files that I had before I came to Mac in 2014. Mavericks introduced the concept of tags. I have a myriad of tags that I use to categorize files that need more defined categorization. I still have a lot of tagging to do yet, and I do so every weekend.
  4. Keep every file in a folder. On my external drive, every single file I own is in some type of folder. The only files I have that aren’t in folders are library files from Photos and iMovie.
  5. Get a file launcher. There are file launchers out there more powerful than spotlight and speedier. My choice is Alfred which is powerful in itself but by buying the Powerpack, you unlock a ton of functionality, like workflows, which opens up a whole new world to you. I suggest giving it a trial run, as you can test it out before you buy. Workflows aren’t available in the trial version but if you get enough value out of the free version, definitely upgrade. Version 3 will be out very soon so you may want to wait.
  6. Backup. Backup. Backup. I don’t think I can say this enough. I use Dropbox for important files that I want to keep though Dropbox only retains 30 days worth of versions. I use Google Drive and Box as well. Box is a school thing 1 and you get 50 gb with the school account. I keep things that are extremely important in my Box account because of their commitment to security and I keep business things in my Google Drive account because of the IFTTT integration.I also backup with Time Machine, SuperDuper 2, and Backblaze which is cloud backup for $5/mo or $50/yr. You should have an offsite backup 3, a bootable clone, file storage 4, and Time Machine. This will save your bacon come tax time or in an emergency.

So what are you going to do to declutter your Mac?

  1. I went back to school but this blog will remain as it is. ↩︎
  2. SuperDuper clones your boot drive. You can boot from it if your boot drive goes bad until you can replace your Mac. It won’t be as fast but it is better than nothing. ↩︎
  3. Meaning in the cloud. ↩︎
  4. You can choose one— I am fanatical about file redundancy. ↩︎