Why organize your desktop? Having a neat computer desktop is the “clean your bed” of digital organizing. It’s the first thing you see when your computer wakes up, and it sets the tone for the day. If your desktop is cluttered with shortcuts and covered in files, the tone it sets is “stress,” which we at Organize to Excel are not fans of.

Here are my top 3 tips for keeping your desktop clutter free AND stress free.

Tip #1. Remove Unnecessary Shortcuts

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When downloading new software, there’s usually a check box in the installation process that says, “Create Desktop Shortcut.” It’s often checked by default, and it’s easy to miss.

Now, creating a desktop shortcut is fine—IF you’re going to use a program frequently. In most cases, though, it’s better to go without. There are so many ways to open an app that don’t take up real estate on your desktop! You can do a Spotlight search on Mac, or for Windows just type the name of the program in the search bar on the bottom left of the screen.

You can even choose to automatically open applications you know you’ll need when the computer starts up.

Note that this is good to check out on a routine basis. Some programs will open on startup by default, even though you might not need them. Check your computer’s list of startup apps and de-select any that aren’t necessary. Your computer will be faster to wake up!

Check the description below for the links to show you how to access the programs that run on your computer’s start up.

Tip #2. Don’t Use Your Desktop as Your Filing System

I’ve said previously that you should treat your digital files like they’re paper ones, and that applies on the desktop too! Plonking every file on your computer’s desktop makes as little sense as plonking every physical file on your physical desk. It causes clutter, creates confusion, and makes everything harder to find.

Your computer has its own filing system —use it!

Tip #3. Use Virtual Desktops

Using multiple desktops (or spaces as they’re called on Mac), is great for keeping tasks separate. For example, you could create one desktop for private messaging, one for work, and one for task management (or Youtube!).

This allows you to focus on your work tasks without being distracted by private messages and funny animal compilation videos. And if you are watching cats try to fit in tiny boxes and an important call comes in, jump back to your work desktop instantly, with everything you need still up and running.

For instructions on working with Mac spaces, click here!

For instructions on working with Windows virtual desktops, click here!

We said years ago (okay, I’m showing my age!) that computers would make things easier for us. They did. So now we do MORE. It makes it even more important to have an organized workspace to be able to find things easily and keep distractions down to a minimum. An organized workspace both physically and digitally allows you to be focused and get more done with less stress.

Have fun while you organize your desktop!

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