windows-7-fencesThe past several months, I have had the pleasure of working with two fantastic colleagues to create a new program for our clients.  One of the best things about collaborating on projects with very smart people is that I continue to learn from them.  And when I learn, you learn as well because I love to share! This month I am going to focus on a few of tips and tools to clear your digital desktop -- you know the one you look at, and probably access, several times a day, every day.  Shouldn't a little time be spent creating an organized, visually appealing desktop in which you can find things quickly and easily?    Following are a few tips and tools to help you do just that.

First, clear the clutter:

  • Get rid of anything you don't need or use frequently.
  • Most computers, wither it be a desktop, laptop, notebook, or phone for that matter, come loaded with several icons on the desktop.  Many of them you never use.  Get rid of them or move them to your Start Menu or Task Bar/Dock instead of having them clutter up your screen.
  • Create a customized Toolbar/Dock which contains those items you access on a daily, or weekly, basis.

3 Tools for Windows Users:

  1. Use a desktop organizing tool, such as Fences (shown in the photo above), to organize any remaining desktop icons.  The software will automatically help you organize existing icons into several dark transparent "fences." You can also organize them manually and create your own fences.
  2. If you want a completely clear desktop, but are afraid you won't be able to find your high-priority or frequently used items quickly, try Emerge Desktop.  Emerge Desktop will hide any icon on the Desktop and take away the ability to place anything on it. To access your programs and files, you have a full context menu with a right click on the desktop screen.
  3. Still worried that you won't be able to find files if they aren't right in front of you?  Try using a search program such Launchy.  A free cross-platform utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop and even your file manager, Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes.

3 Tools for Mac Users:

  1. Desktoday is a free app that sits in the menu bar at the top of your desktop. When you click on the Desktoday icon and select Clear Desktop, it will move all of the folders and files on your desktop to a folder in your Documents folder with the current date.  But don't worry, you can set up exceptions to leave certain folders and files on your desktop or select a different destination for the moved folders and files.
  2. Desktop Groups is like Fences (above, for Windows) for the Mac.
  3. Camouflage is an app that hides your files instead of moving them.  You can then unhide them when needed.  Very simple.

If you are interested in learning more about clearing your digital desktop, along with tips and tools for managing all of your digital information, join my colleagues and I for one of our upcoming complimentary Finding Digital Sanity webinars.

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