No matter how productive you might be, there is only one of you… so it’s in your best interest to cut out all time-wasting activities that don’t add value to your life. If you’d like to eliminate distractions and organize your online life, simply follow these eight easy steps.

1. Disable all text and email notifications from social media.

Humans are born with an innate desire for instant gratification. Add in the fact that most social media apps notify you of new activity instantaneously, and you can see how social media might be the biggest distraction in your life. Do you really need to know that your friend thinks that picture of your dog is precious the second it happens? The answer is “NO!” Remove the temptation to check your phone every few minutes by following the instructions in the help articles below:

2. Unsubscribe from any email list that doesn’t add value to your life.

On a scale of 1-10, how cluttered is your inbox at the moment? If you answered “5″ or more, you should consider unsubscribing from any list that doesn’t directly benefit you. Fortunately, there’s an innovative new service called Unroll.me that makes this process quick and painless. Click here to make an account. Let the software work its magic and mercilessly unsubscribe you from anything that isn’t necessary. My emails, however, are quite helpful, just in case you’re interested.

3. Leave Facebook groups you are not actively participating in.

Since user privacy is of no concern to Facebook, they allow people to add you to groups without your consent. And even if you do participate in some groups, it’d be smart to cut the excess, so you have more time to participate in the groups that are actually beneficial for your networking success. Simply click on a group that you have no reason to belong to (they are all listed on the left-side of your home page) and follow these instructions.

4. Unlike Facebook pages you don’t care about to make more room for the ones you do.

Due to Facebook’s recent algorithm changes, it is more difficult for page-owners to get their content in front of fans. Help out your favorite pages by unliking everything else. In theory, this should result in a less cluttered feed, making it more likely you will notice the updates you care about. Log into your account and click this link to clean up your feed with ease. If you’d like to say “thank you” (and get updates that are actually helpful), you’re welcome to throw down a like on my page, and you might as well give a like to Lifehack while you’re at it!

5. Unfriend people you are connected to for no good reason.

You’d be amazed how many people you are connected to online for no reason. To declutter your friends list and make more room for your true friends in your feed, follow the steps below:

  • Access Facebook via the mobile app on your cellphone or log-in on your computer
  • Navigate to your profile
  • Click the link to “friends”
  • Scroll really far down, because it lists them in order of relevancy (i.e. the people you actually communicate/interact with will be at the top and vice versa)
  • Use the quick link next to a person’s name to unfriend

Don’t feel bad about it. You don’t interact with these people, so they will never even know it happened (unless they are stalking you for some reason, then I can make no promises).

Note: Do not follow this process for people who don’t have a profile photo, because that means they have disabled their Facebook account, and unfriending them here will refresh the screen, slowing down the process considerably (I have no idea why this happens, but it is what it is). Get a pen and paper to write down the names of people without a photo as you go. When you’re done with the rest, you can search for those people on a one-by-one basis, and delete them individually.

6. Delete unused phone numbers.

Take about 20-30 minutes to scroll through your contact list. You will end up scrolling past the names of your true friends who you haven’t thought about in a long time. Make a note to give them a call as soon as you can, and delete the rest; because it is better to have a few true friends than a lot of phony ones.

7. Stop unsolicited snail mail and phone calls.

If you’ve completed the steps so far, you’ve already done the hard part, and congrats on your newly organized online life! For bonus points, click here to join the Do Not Mail List and click here to join the Do Not Call Registry.

8. Bookmark this article and schedule a check-up date one month from today.

I know you have good intentions to eliminate distractions and organize your online life right now, but in the interest of keeping you accountable, I’d like you to schedule a check-up date one month from today. Simply bookmark this article and give it a quick skim on your check-up date to make sure you have decluttered to the absolute best of your ability. At that point, you are also welcome to leave a comment telling us how things are going, how we can help, and how it feels to have more time and energy for the things you care about. If you know anybody who might be helped by this article, please share it via email or the social media buttons on the top-left corner of this page.

Featured photo credit: Hersman Girls – Already on Computers/Erik Hersman via flickr.com

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