Look at your desktop. Not your literal desktop, be it a table or your couch. But that thing hidden beneath the 38 tabs and 12 windows you have open on your computer. When was the last time you cleaned that up? I can practically smell the dust and misplaced files from all the way over here. We all do the same dance around organizing the mess. “I’ll do it later. ” “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Or my favorite trick: select all –> drag to folder –> drop it in and forget about it. But let’s not kid ourselves, you’ll be cursing yourself the second you need to find one of those documents that is a nightmare to pull up in Spotlight. Let’s take a few minutes to clean up our act with these organization tips. (Because that desktop I described up there wasn’t pulled out of my imagination, I’m looking at it). In writing this piece, I’ve checked Facebook too many times to count and sighed at my cluttered computer approximately 3 times. So here we go:
1. Close all your windows except this one. Turn your Wifi off to prevent other internet induced distractions.
2. Label the heck out of your documents. It’s tempting to lazily keep the “Untitled” as they are, but be as specific and logical as you can. To that point, make as many folders as possible to have the most accurate system. Whatever system you decide on- stick to it!
3. Put all the files on your desktop where they belong and throw out lingering files you don’t need. This is painstaking but take your time to properly place everything in a corresponding folder, either on your actual desktop or away. You don’t reallyy need to keep version 2 of 8 of that document, right? Didn’t think so.
4. Next, evaluate your dock and applications that are front and center. Don’t take up extra space with an application you only sometimes use. Same goes for stacks. I’m talking VITALS, people!
5. On to email. Go through your inbox and unsubscribe from every newsletter you don’t need. Obviously, keep Peaceful Dumpling (in fact, subscribe if you haven’t yet!) Be honest. Knowing about every sale isn’t necessary for you or your wallet.
6. Back up your stuff. I recently came close to a near wipeout due to the Mavericks installation that rendered part of my hard drive damaged. I had never backed anything up in my life. This is a terrible idea and you will regret it at the most inconvenient time.
7. Check out these apps to keep you organized and productive moving forward so this massive clean up/rescue doesn’t have to happen more than twice a year:
– Tab Notes: Uncluttered doesn’t have to mean unadorned. Tab Notes is my personal favorite because the stickies are hidden on the perimeter, disguised as whatever icon you like. Mine are, not surprisingly, butterflies.
-Pay $10 for your own personal strict supervisor. Freedom turns your internet off for up to 8 hours and can’t be turned on unless you reboot. This is obviously frustrating and the whole point- you’ll be less likely to restart and more likely to get stuff done.
-Similarly, install the free WasteNoTime extension in Chrome or Safari and block yourself from distracting sites after a limited amount of time. This cuts down on open windows. Perfect for those with little to no self control!
-If you don’t already have the AdBlock extension installed in Chrome, you will do a happy dance after installing it and watching all those pesky ads disappear. View Youtube videos automatically sans 30 second advertisements and/or movie trailer. It will change your life.
8. Now the fun part: pick a productivity inducing wallpaper. Something soothing, attractive but nothing distracting. Hopefully at this point you will be actually able to see your desktop since your files are all put in their respective homes. Flowers work really well for me, as do abstract things like these sparkles. Pink never fails to soothe the soul.
Now that your computer is organized and conducive to productivity, indulge in a little online shopping. I won’t tell anyone.
Also by Nicole: Vegan Ballet Shoes for Animal Loving Dancers
Photo: Nicole Hoffman; deviantART