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Co­lette Sex­ton shares the ex­perts’ ad­vice on re-en­ter­ing the work­force

This month’s Marie Kondo task? Spring clean­ing your phone.

DO­MINIQUE McMUL­LAN takes you step by step.

Ev­ery­one I talk to is find­ing joy in chuck­ing out every­thing they own. There is, how­ever, one area of our lives that is be­ing rudely ig­nored, even by the most en­er­getic Kondo enthusiast­s, and that is our dig­i­tal spa­ces.

You know that lovely feel­ing you get when you fi­nally tackle the tights drawer? You can get just as sat­is­fy­ing a clean­ing high from knuck­ling down with your dig­i­tal de­vice. You prob­a­bly spend more time on your phone than you do in your down­stairs coat cup­board any­way, so why wouldn’t you ded­i­cate some time to a proper dig­i­tal spring clean? STEP 1: BACK UP The won­der­ful thing about com­put­ers is that they can hold lots more than a press. It’s prob­a­bly been a while since you plugged your phone into your com­puter, so do it, and back every­thing up. We can then move for­ward know­ing that any­thing you delete by ac­ci­dent or change your mind about still ex­ists some­where. You should/could also be back­ing up reg­u­larly on ICLOUD or Google Drive, but there is some­thing com­fort­ing about the phys­i­cal act of plug­ging in.

STEP 2: CHUCK OUT This is where you have to be vi­cious; start with your apps. Delete that shopping app you got when tipsy be­cause your friend Amanda swears by it. Delete the game your child down­loaded with­out you notic­ing last year. Delete every­thing that you don’t use and then delete some more. STEP THREE: KEEP CHUCK­ING OUT Next, move on to im­ages and videos. Do not be tempted to fall into a mem­ory hole. Aim to delete 85 per cent of videos and at least 65 per cent of your pho­tos. How to man­age this? Se­lect “all im­ages”, and then de­s­e­lect the ones that you love. For bonus points, head to Pho­ or Snap­ to or­der some prints. If they’re re­ally spe­cial (and high res) pho­tos,

then try ar­ti­fac­tupris­, which makes the most ex­quis­ite photo books.

STEP FOUR: EVEN THE WORST BITS This is a deep dive now, so stay with me. An ex­am­ple of some con­tacts in my ad­dress book: Lynzi (new), Lynzi (Dublin 18), Lynzi (lat­est), Caitlin (Fash­ion Week), David (Su­gar­loaf, Rob). An ex­am­ple of some of the notes I have stored: “Peo­ple shar­ing quick and easy recipes with pics”, “SCRR948”, “Emily loves a treach­er­ous, mys­te­ri­ous smokey eye”… Your guess is as good as mine. Delete the con­tacts and notes that mean noth­ing to you. Merge the ones that you can. Then move on. STEP 5: UP­DATES You know those nig­gly lit­tle up­dates you keep ig­nor­ing? Now is the time to do some­thing about them, whether it’s chang­ing a pass­word or up­dat­ing to the lat­est ver­sion of IOS. Be pa­tient. It’s hard, but we’ll get through this to­gether.

STEP 6: FOLD­ERS This is where it gets fun. Di­vide your apps up into fold­ers like “work”, “so­cial me­dia”, “travel”, “health”, and “games” – what­ever makes sense for you. I have a folder in which I keep shopping apps, for ex­am­ple. This al­lows me to fill up vir­tual shopping carts and walk away with­out pur­chas­ing a thing. Leave es­sen­tial fold­ers on page one, and less fre­quently used fold­ers for page two.

STEP 7: PLAN Now that every­thing is feel­ing a lit­tle more un­der con­trol, let’s think about phone us­age. How many hours a day do you want to use your phone? Af­ter what time would you like to stop us­ing it? There are great new func­tions on Ap­ple and Google de­vices that help you limit screen time. You can set timers on apps to turn off af­ter a few hours and have your phone shut down af­ter a cer­tain time at night. These func­tions can also, of course, be over­rid­den should there be an In­sta­gram emer­gency.

STEP 8: RE­JOICE Time to cel­e­brate your new, healthy dig­i­tal re­la­tion­ship by treat­ing your­self to new screen saver; why not try one of those pho­tos you high­lighted in step three? Sit back and en­joy.

“You prob­a­bly spend more time on your phone than you do in your coat cup­board, so why wouldn’t you ded­i­cate some time

to a proper dig­i­tal spring clean?”

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