What better way to start the year than with a Digital declutter?

Happy New Year! 2023 is officially here. It’s a time when lots of us want to get rid of the old and start with the new. Many of us have set resolutions we’re going to be sticking to as well – at least for a few weeks! It could be losing weight, getting in shape, eating better, trying new hobbies, going out more, going out less…

Many people also want to get the new work year off to a great start, and the best place to begin is with a really good desk declutter. In fact, this has become so popular each year that there’s now a special day for it – National Clean Off Your Desk Day which is held on 9th January every year.

Of course, we all know the drill: tidy up the desktop, remove old Post-it notes, go through your drawers and throw out old festive treat wrappers. It doesn’t take long but you instantly feel better. So wouldn’t it be good if ComputerWorld could help you keep your workspace decluttered for the long term? 

In a world full of hybrid and remote workers, the traditional desk space has changed. It’s no longer just about cleaning your desk, but also cleaning and migrating your work stuff to your online space. So whether you want to move your physical desk into your Microsoft space or are looking for ways to tidy your current virtual workspace, we have some handy tips for you.

Meet Microsoft To Do

If you don’t already know, Microsoft To Do is a task management application that allows you to create task cards to organise your workload, schedule actions and more in one space. This multi-management tool will keep you on track and gather all your important notes in one area – so you don’t have loads of Post-it notes on your desk or stuck around your computer screen!

Already using Microsoft To Do?

We recommend you start afresh and declutter your To Do list to get ready for the projects and tasks you have for the year ahead. This stops you from being bombarded with tasks, documents and so on from last year.

Still use pen and paper?

It may seem like a bit of a manual job at first, but go through your physical lists and plans and transfer them into Microsoft To Do. You only need to do it once at the start and make it a habit to stop writing physical lists and use To Do instead.

If you are an Adopt 365 member, check out all the Microsoft To Do training here.


Download the To Do application on your mobile device. That way, no matter where you are, you always have access to add tasks to your list, so you can feel confident you won’t forget it.

Use Planner for your Team

A great application within Microsoft 365 is Planner. This virtual planning application allows you and your team can to create plans, assign tasks, set deadlines, and see charts of your team’s progress all in one easy-to-use location. Planner also allows you to create personalised labels and use these to add further detail to your plan, for example, note whether something is being planned, created, or reviewed, so you can put away your colour coding highlighters for good! 

Unlike your old pen and paper list, these e-lists can help you collaborate more easily. You can add @ people in that list who are working on that task with you and add notes, links and documents within each item. And most importantly, you still get that feeling of satisfaction as you cross off tasks.

Already using Planner?

If your team are already using Planner, go through your existing plan and see which tasks are overdue, unassigned or no longer relevant. Taking a little time now will help your team be more productive and more organised in 2023.

Still using physical lists?

It’s time to put your notepad down and truly collaborate with your team. This isn’t only the greener option but a better way to collaborate in a hybrid world. Create a new plan within your departmental team, create the relevant buckets and start assigning tasks today.

If you are an Adopt 365 member, check out our Planner training content here.


If you use To Do for your individual tasks and Planner for your Team tasks, check out ‘Tasks by Planner and To Do’ within Microsoft Teams to see all your assigned tasks across all your plans and lists in one easy-to-use dashboard.

Tidy up your Team spaces

If you’re tidying things up, you also need to look at your Team spaces. Go through your Teams and Channels to see which ones are no longer used or relevant. This can help you declutter everything, so you’re not confused about which spaces you’re actually using. And don’t forget to make sure things like tags and pinned posts are still relevant, these are easy to overlook but when used correctly, can be incredibly useful- trust us, your team will thank you for it.

Important note: make sure everyone in that space is OK with you deleting it.

Declutter and organise your files

It might seem like a long and tedious task, but going through your files within your OneDrive or sharing in Teams will help you navigate more easily right from the start of 2023. You can create new folders, such as for old 2022 and new 2023 files, and then sub-organise within each folder. Drag and drop the files into the correct folders. 

What’s more, shifting your lists and documents onto your virtual desktop has another big advantage. Not only does your physical desk stay decluttered, but you have everything you need when you’re working out and about away from your desk.

PRO TIP: To keep on top of the decluttering, set aside an hour or so each month to organise your virtual desk. Then when January 2024 comes around, it’s not such a big job.