If the state of your inbox doesn’t spark joy, it might be the right time for a clean-up. Copyright (c) 2017 Marie Maerz/Shutterstock.  No use without permission.

If the state of your inbox doesn’t spark joy, it might be the right time for a clean-up. Copyright (c) 2017 Marie Maerz/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

As we slowly but surely drag our feet towards the cold and wet winter days, the temptation to just lie down, buried in blankets, and endlessly scroll on the internet might overcome the best of us. But that time can be productive and positive, too.

While some never will know the heavy stone of guilt that lies in the pits of your stomach when browsing through social media apps instead of working on that sad macramé or half-started (or half-finished) DIY project, some readers might perhaps recognise themselves. And to those, I say: I feel you.

The weather and short days might be a good excuse to stay in, but this quiet time between Halloween and end of year celebrations might also be the right time to clean up your digital mind space. Here are three small, low-effort steps to sanitise the internet.

1)    Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read

Be it because of an online purchase or a website that would only give up information if you subscribed, newsletters are overly abundant. But how many of those are even opened?

E-mails do after all have a carbon footprint, so why ask for e-mails that aren’t going to be opened? Just keep those of true interest, like the  briefings, and for the rest, just scroll to the bottom of the last newsletter you got and click on “unsubscribe”.

2)    Delete e-mails

On that same topic, now is the perfect time to clean out your inbox. Go full Mari Kondo: Does that e-mail have a use? Does it spark joy? If not, put it in the bin. Storing e-mails not only clutters your inbox but also contributes to the carbon footprint mentioned above.

There are some ways to be efficient about it: either type in a keyword (a brand, for instance), select all the e-mails that show up and delete the batch. The other way would be to create folders for the content that’s useful and dispatch the messages accordingly.

And once all that is done, it’s time to empty the bin, which is really fulfilling and doesn’t require leaving the couch.

3)    Set up a healthy digital evening routine

This is easier said than done but has a proven positive impact on your overall health, as many have shown--better and deeper sleep and thus more energy to face the short days and long to-do lists.

Concretely, this means not using the phone in the hours just before going to bed. A Herculean task for some, but there are many ways to keep the phone away. Most phones have a sleep schedule function that reminds you to put your phone down. Another option is to set the screen to greyscale after a certain hour. Or you could set your alarm really loudly, put your phone on flight mode and leave it somewhere too far away from the comfort of your bed.

Even if you adopt just one of those three habits, you’ll make your mind, phone and the internet a little bit tidier. A little spark of joy in the depths of dark autumn days.