On our real desks, we clear away the empty coffee cups, throw old sticky notes in the bin and organise loose papers in neat little piles. Why shoudn’t we do the same to our virtual ones? Is your desktop background hidden behind miscellaneous files that you didn’t know where else to save? Are the files and folders in your Documents folder named inconsistently? Do you have a constant “to read” list of tabs open in your browser?
It may seem harmless because it’s not physical clutter, but your computer is your home for 8 hours (or more) each day. If an unorganised desk is an unorganised mind, then an unorganised computer means exactly the same thing.
Okay, you get it now. Here are a few tips to keep your virtual desktop in order:
1. Shut down your computer every night. This will ensure everything is saved, closed and all those tabs have either been dealt with or (less preferable) bookmarked for later. Starting the day by powering up your computer is much better for your brain than returning to a computer already filled with unfinished business.
2. Keep your desktop clear at all times. If you’re not sure where to save something, figure it out now, not later. Later doesn’t actually exist.
3. Do a sweep every week. This doesn’t have to be followed religiously, but going through and making sure everything is where it is supposed to be every so often is one way to keep on top of the increasingly large amounts of data we’re storing on our devices.
4. Create shortcuts. Figure out which applications you use the most and add a shortcut to your home screen, task bar or desktop. The same goes for folders and even files – but don’t add more than 3 to your desktop. You still need to see your skilfully photoshopped Hawaiian beach background.