Having a disastrous looking computer desktop is something we have all been guilty of at least once or twice. We save, download and create shortcuts on our desktop, and eventually it becomes some jumbled mess at which point we can’t find anything we’re looking for! “Uh oh… where did that monthly report go? I know I saved it on here somewhere.” Whoops…
In this post, I’m going to be showing you how you can keep your desktop and documents clean and organized with screenshot examples from my own laptop. Disclaimer: it may take two/three hours to initially get your desktop organized, however, once it is organized, it will save you many headaches and save you some time when trying to navigate through documents.
Above is a screenshot of my desktop and as you can see there are only three folders and three shortcuts for programs (I renamed some of my folders for privacy purposes, but that is my actual puppy). My first suggestion for organizing your desktop is to minimize the amount of “stuff” you have on it by only having folders and shortcuts for the “stuff” you use a minimum of three times a week. Hence, a total of only six items on mine.
Now, let’s take a closer to look into the “his stuff” folder (mine), below.
Notice how I have categorized my life into broad topics, this makes it easier to initially know exactly where I have to go to find what I need. Also notice how there are zero loose word documents or excel spreadsheets floating around… only folders. Once you have your life broken down into a small amount of folders, you can start subcategorizing within each of these folders.
As an example, I’m going to be showing you what my “Undergrad” folder looks like inside:
Observe that I have kept all of the names simple on each of the folders, but with a clear enough description to know exactly what’s inside each of them. I chose my “Undergrad” folder as an example because it shows specific dates, as well as showing how important organizing your computer can be when it comes to trying to find past documents/spreadsheets.
So now I have gone into my “Spring 2015” folder, which is shown above, within my “Undergrad” folder. I have each course separated into its own folder. I just used the course number for each class, since that’s how I remember them, but you should name the folders in a way that you’ll immediately know what you’re looking at.
But wait, there’s more:
After clicking on the specific course I want, I find even more folders, further organizing the coursework during the period of time in which that class took place. I’ll spare you the pain and just let you know that, yes, there are more folders within a couple of these folders. One important thing to know though, is that within the folders “Notes” and “Assignments” I have kept a pattern with how I’m naming files. For instance, if I’m saving assignment 1 and it was due on October 13, 2015, I named it: HW1_10-13-15. This makes my life so much easier when I have to go back and find this document and date. I would also suggest coming up with a sort of “naming system” for all other types of documents as well!
Something else to notice about my desktop compartmentalization is that the number of folders tend to decrease each time I enter a new one, which should almost always be the case. If you find that you’re getting to the end of your “folder chain” and you have more folders there than when you started, you need to go back and create more specific folders towards the beginning of that “folder chain” and start reducing the amount of folders as you move along.
Finally, I also suggest the use of stickies on one of your desktop screens. My stickies are specifically for things that I want/need to do, so obviously make your stickies cater to your needs. Stickies are an easy way check-in with what you need to accomplish or with activities that you want to do!
I’m sure many of you are curious about how I organize the calendar on my laptop, but that’s a topic of discussion for another time. So for now, organize your desktop and keep on increasing your productivity and discipline!
Try to enjoy this process by knowing that a clean workspace equals a clear mind!