Your mom undoubtedly yelled at you for your disgusting, filthy, scattered room when you were a child (and teen, and when you visited from college). You grumbled, you shouted, you avoided, you did everything else except clean your room. Admit it, you kinda sucked when it came to keeping things clean at some point in your life.
But, an amazing thing happened once you cleaned your room. You found stuff that you had lost, probably made a few bucks from loose change and hidden dollar bills, and undoubtedly it felt like the world (or maybe just your room) was a brighter, more open place.
If you are anything like me, you probably felt a bit of relief once you were done cleaning too! Why wouldn’t you? You were taking care of your belongings, showing yourself and your things the respect that they deserve. It was a great feeling, right?
SO WHY THE HECK DON’T YOU CLEAN UP YOUR COMPUTER?!
Your desktop is a mess, there are browser tabs and windows everywhere, you have twenty applications running, your inbox is in the thousands, not to mention your different chats and instant message groups…
It’s no wonder many people feel stressed, overwhelmed, and completely disorganized. They’re staring at disorganized chaos every day!
Does this look something like your desktop?
If so, CUT IT OUT!
Because I hate knowing that there are people out there that feel this way, I’ve come up with three (realistic) ways to clean up your computer and keep it that way!
Make a few folders that could encompass everything you do on that machine in front of you. I have a folder for:
- my personal projects and documents (images I like, demo day project assets, etc.),
- a client folder (with folders inside for each of the different projects),
- a business folder (for non-client related LPL work),
- and a folder for things that need to be sorted (random documents that accumulate throughout the week on my desktop).
Doesn’t this desktop look a lot nicer?
You’re jealous, I can tell.
By starting with this simple organizational system, I don’t really need to keep on top of the files from my desktop. I can easily throw things in their respective folders, or I can plop them into the “to be sorted” folder for organizing when I have more free time.
Windows are your friends, not tabs.
Just like with folders, you can organize your browser tabs in a similar way. Many times, I’ll have multiple tabs open in order to do a task.
Maybe I’m updating a client information one-sheet. So I have the one-sheet open in a tab, two different Google Drive tabs (in different folders), Harvest in another tab, and a tab with my calendar. For one task, I have at minimum five tabs open. If I were to combine that with my zillion other tabs, I wouldn’t know where to find anything and spend half my day clicking around trying to find that one specific tab (or worse, just keep opening up another tab).
Why have your browser look like this… ^
When it could look like this? ^
What I do instead, is use windows like folders and put those folders in priority for the day. For my one-page task, that’s one window with five tabs. My go-to tabs (email, trello, jira, etc.) are all on one window, and if I’m working on a client project, that gets it’s own tab as well. I keep my windows organized in my dock in priority of when things need to be accomplished. When you’re done with a task, close that window!
P.S. On a similar vein, keep your bookmarks organized in folders too! A clean browser makes for a happy camper!
I’ve got stacks on stacks on stacks of folders!
Make a habit (or calendar reminder)
Here are a few different habits i’ve gotten into:
- Every two days I go through my google inbox and organize all of my emails. Messages specific to a client project go in the client folder. Messages and calendar invites that are not client specific get archived (never deleted). With this system, I’ve never had a problem finding an old email for reference.
- Every week, I clean up my desktop (if I haven’t done it as I go).
- Every few hours, I clean up my dock and close unneeded apps.
- Finally, every day in addition to closing all windows, I tidy up my desk. Because nothing sucks more than having a disorganized computer sitting on top of a disorganized desk and seeing that hot mess in the morning when you get into work.
Look at that sweet, sweet dock.
It’s a pretty thing ain’t it?
All of these habits take less than 10 minutes (depending on how many emails I got over the past two days). IN FACT, I’d argue all of them take 3 minutes or less if you did them regularly enough.
If you can’t remember to do these regularly, set a reminder for 10 minutes before you normally leave for the day. This will give you enough time to finish what you’ve been working on, clean up your computer (and desk), shut down your computer, pack up, and leave!
But, an amazing thing happens once you clean your computer. You find stuff that you lost, probably become more efficient (making you more $ in the end), and undoubtedly it felt like the office (or maybe just your desk) was a brighter, more open place.
See what I did there? 😉
Look, I’m not saying this is perfect… but i’m definitely not saying that it’s not perfect. Having a disorganized computer is clogging up your mind whether you think so or not. So do yourself a favor, make your mom proud, and clean up your computer!