With the back to school frenzy behind us and a change of seasons on the horizon, there’s no better time to give your work life a reboot. And believe it or not, technology can play an important part in that. From embracing mobility to harnessing the cloud to preventing downtime through layered security, machines can make our lives run better.
But being more efficient and productive can begin on an even more basic level: on the desktop of your computer, which is where most of us start and end each day. Keeping your desktop tidy obviously provides a big aesthetic plus, and a streamlined virtual workspace can have the same kind of calming effect as an organized office. A clean desktop can even improve computing performance.
Below, we’ve gathered five easy-to-follow suggestions for injecting a little orderliness into your desktop routine. Let us know if any of these tips work for you, or if you’d like to share your own organizational ideas.
- Yes, you can rearrange your file and keep shortcuts handy. This might be the easiest desktop cleanup fix: you can either manually delete all shortcuts and consolidate documents into a folder, or choose between various Sort By options that group icons by Name, Size, File Type, and Date Modified. Consider placing all your commonly used shortcuts into one folder, or right click, then choose the View option, which allows you to change icon size, Auto Arrange icons into vertical rows, or Align to Grid so that everything occupies its own space.
- Reconsider where downloaded files go. This one is a double-edged sword — if files downloaded through your mail client or Internet browsers don’t automatically land on your desktop, you might not be able to easily locate them. But if you do send them straight to your desktop and don’t keep up with the deluge, you can quickly get swamped. The best compromise? Create a Downloads folder on your desktop and point files there for easy accessibility and streamlined organization.
- Use sub-folders and maintain a good filing system. Rather than having 100 documents on your desktop, start by putting them all into folder, then creating sub-folders based on project names, specific job duties, or other signifiers. Take the time to place all your loose documents in the right folder, and when you work on new materials, immediately file them in their proper location. It might take a little front-end effort to get everything organized, but once you have the structure is in place, it’s much easier to keep up with.
- Utilize Search or Find to locate any file in seconds. So you organized all your documents — now you can’t remember whether that proposal you were working on is filed under Client, In Progress, or Work Documents. That’s when the Search or Find button can be your best friend. Type a word or phrase that you know exists in the document you need, and voila — there it is (along with any other pertinent files you may have also forgotten about). Using Search or Find is almost always faster than scrolling around multiple folders looking for something.
- If you need a bigger helping hand, consider desktop cleanup apps like RocketDock, Fences, and Launchy. RocketDock is a common Windows plug-in that allows for the quick streamlining of desktop icons, while Fences automatically groups icons and files by category. Both apps offer countless customization options, as does Launchy, a program launcher that can pare your desktop down to the basics by replacing your start menu, desktop icons, and file manager. You can even search Google directly from Launchy.
Whatever route you take, don’t let your desktop devolve into a jumbled mess that serves as a regular point of distraction and inefficiency. Even if you only spend five minutes a day on organization, taking such small steps toward more orderliness can be a big motivator. Looking for other ways to boost efficiency and productivity in your workplace? Contact CMIT Solutions today — we put technology to work for you instead of letting it slow you down.