Maybe you just finished cleaning your desk space and it’s time to move on to the digital realm. A cluttered computer can often lead to headaches, missing files, and an over-all unenjoyable computing experience. Thankfully there are some simple ways which will help keep your computer organized and free from unnecessary clutter.
Clean Up Your Desktop
Just like the physical desktop is the first place one typically begins to clean when they organize their home office, the digital desktop is just as important of a first step. We don’t like to have any icons on our desktop. The open space is like a nice, blank slate we always begin with when we start a new project on the computer. It is a refreshing site, to say the least. Some make the argument that the desktop should house shortcut links you constantly use for easy access. We don’t like this method. Instead, we opt to keep all of our shortcut links on the left-hand nav bar of our finder window. Our reasoning is that it is the same amount of clicks to access your content either way. When you want to quickly access a file or folder, aren’t you usually already in an application? So you must then minimize the application and then access the shortcut link. Instead, why not click on the finder window and access the shortcut link through the sidebar? It is the same number of clicks and it keeps your desktop space nice and bare. Another usage we have for the desktop is to think of it as a space for transient files. We don’t like files living on our desktop but it is an excellent place to temporarily store files that must be organized later. For instance, all of our web browsers have the downloads folder set as the desktop. This way we are forced to organize all downloads immediately upon receiving them.
Hide Your Dock
The dock is a beautiful thing. It is an easy way to access programs or downloads and who doesn’t love that Magnify feature? But as pretty as it is, it does take up some precious screen real estate and constantly clutters either the sides or bottom of your screen. Johnny Ives, lead designer at Apple, makes a good argument which is applicable in this instance. When a tool is not in use and not immediately necessary, it shouldn’t be there. It should only be present when it needs to be. Following this logic, why not hide the Dock as well? Simply control-click the Dock and select “hide.” This way, anytime you need the dock, simply mouse in its direction and it will appear for you. We’ve been doing this for years now and quite frankly think it is simply the only way one should treat the Dock.
Create a File Naming Conventions
An organized and computer-wide system of naming files can be very useful. Although people can get by when there isn’t a system put in place, even some of the most basic conventions put can improve searchability of your files and simply make things easier to navigate. Although it is ultimately a personal decision on how you rename files (whether they begin with dates, include names, are numerical and placed in descriptive folders, etc…) there are some tried and true examples of functional naming conventions. Photographers, designers, and web developers are often very strict when it comes to file naming and folder logic, particularly if they’re working on teams and dealing with very large and complex file structures. Here is an informative video of how you can begin by naming your photographs (but the same concepts can be applied more broadly) from a profession photographer.