Maximising your productivity doesn’t just mean optimising your equipment and sharpening your focus. Read on to discover why decluttering your computer desktop is also essential.
We all know how much time it can take to wade through piles of stationery on your desk when you’re searching for a critical document and how quickly this can snowball and damage your output.
Clutter can affect you in various indirect ways, too.
It can dramatically reduce your cognitive abilities, making it hard to make decisions or engage effectively with your team. It can also have an adverse effect on your anxiety, focus, sleep, and eating choices. In turn, these can reduce your workplace performance and you end up on the hamster wheel you just can’t stop.
Remember, this clutter problem doesn’t just affect your desk or office, when your computer desktop is messy, the uninspiring display and disorganised folders can impact your productivity as much as physical clutter. To avoid this scenario, you need to tidy up your computer as well.
Want to break the cycle but don’t know where to start? Here are 7 tips to declutter your computer desktop.
TIP 1 – Consolidate Your Most Used Apps/Software
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Having quick access to your most used programs or software is essential because it allows you to start working immediately without searching for apps.
We suggest you begin by deciding which software matters most to you. This might be two or three apps that you use daily or an entire suite of programs that you use every day.
Once you’ve assembled your list, consider whether you could merge multiple programs with a comprehensive solution to put them in one place and streamline your productivity.
The taskbar is an effective alternative, as program icons are often responsible for the bulk of your clutter. Keeping the essential icons in the taskbar makes them quickly accessible since you won’t need to browse.
TIP 2 - Delete or Relocate Unused Files
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In this step, we’re going to tackle unused programs. Here’s a tip: if you can’t remember when you last used certain software, uninstall it. Do the same if you don’t think you’ll need a particular application for an upcoming project.
Since this can be a hard decision, you may want to create a folder for these rarely used apps and files instead. Tuck them away until you figure out if you wish to proceed with the deletion. Think of it like sorting out your wardrobe with the clothes you have hanging up but never wear. If you take them out and find you don’t miss them after a few weeks or months, you probably don’t need them at all.
For this wait-and-see approach, you can make use of several folders, such as “miscellaneous” or “to be archived.” In doing so, you won’t accidentally uninstall or remove a crucial program.
Now, if you take this approach, make sure to check the folders regularly. Determine which files and apps are no longer needed in your business and delete them to avoid clutter.
To avoid falling behind with your cleaning, set a reminder on your calendar. It can be a monthly or weekly event, depending on your workload.
Tip 3 - Develop A Folder Structure With File Naming Conventions
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The most important thing you should do to prevent clutter on your computer is set up an intuitive folder structure. You can use several categories, such as file type or name, depending on what suits your research or work best.
Be sure to choose well-established naming conventions that allow you to quickly navigate through your documents. The system should also be simple to use and work for many years to come. So, it’s worth taking a bit of time to get this one right, it will certainly pay dividends.
You can place these folders in your file share tools (e.g., One Drive, Google Drive and Dropbox), hard drive or desktop if you back them up regularly.
With a fully functional structure, you can bypass your desktop and simply download new documents to designated folders. Afterwards, you can quickly locate them with the search command on your computer. Type in the name of your folder, and you’ll reach the desired file within seconds.
Tip 4- Categorise New Content
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Dumping new files and programs onto your desktop may be tempting if you’re in a hurry. However, this method is not great because it might prevent others from being able to access information if they need it.
Try to allocate a few minutes to organise all new apps and files appropriately, according to your naming conventions. A quick way to do so is to use automatic file sorting by date or alphabetically. It doesn’t take long, yet it can significantly reduce clutter on your computer
Tip 5 - Make Your Desktop Aesthetically Pleasing
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Besides making your computer desktop fully functional, you should also enhance its appeal. So, select a meaningful or beautiful background. It should be enjoyable to look at, motivating you to keep your computer tidy.
To take this to the next level, set gridded or lined images as the background to organize files that end up there more easily.
Another great idea is to use a motivational background. Images with powerful messages encourage you to work harder and remain focused. This type of coaching also enables you to organize your desktop and stay on top of clutter.
Tip 6 - Consider Sectioned Desktop Wallpaper
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Sectioned desktop wallpapers are a fantastic way to enhance your desktop organisation further. For example, you could include a section for your holiday or pets.
There are millions of wallpapers online that can help you declutter your desktop. They complement folder naming conventions to improve your workflow.
Tip 7 - Employ Fences
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Digital fences group files in specific regions of your desktop to make them more visually accessible. This method works much better than burying all your files in one or two folders. Plus, many people consider it more user-friendly than gridded backgrounds.
For example, the Stacks feature automatically categorises content by type or any other specific feature. It’s available for free on Macs with Mojave.
Likewise, PCs have a similar feature called Fences. It enables you to designate and move fences around the desktop for improved manoeuvrability. The only downside to this is that it’s not free. However, a free trial is available so you can find out if it works for you before committing. For information, take a look here. https://www.stardock.com/products/fences/
Final Word - Don’t Let Clutter Get Out Of Hand
Decluttering your computer desktop is one of the best ways to enhance your productivity.
It might take some time, but it will pay dividends. Once you’re organised, you’ll be able to find the necessary files and programs effortlessly. You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to face the day ahead.