Cleaning your virtual workspace is just as important as tidying up your house. Clutter can cause stress, can be distracting and can make the important items difficult to find. It is essential for your productivity, and your mental health to keep areas like your computer organized and clutter free. It may seem like a daunting task, but the incentive of having a clean desktop is far better than working with a slow computer or even worse – losing data. Here are some tips to consider getting you started.
Identify the Junk
The first step in the decluttering process is to identify what you need and what you don’t need saved to your desktop. This will vary from person to person, but a general guideline is to ask yourself, “do I click and run this program often?”. If the answer is no, consider removing it from your desktop. Once you identify the files you need to keep, they should be stored in a secure place that is easy to access. We suggest utilizing Microsoft OneDrive which is secure and ultimately has endless drive space to store files. Another great option is backing up locally stored data to a safe location on your Network Drive which will protect your data and clean up your computer. Once it is backed up to the server, your files are safe from being lost in the occurrence of your computer’s hard drive failing.
Unsure if it is important or not?
Sometimes there are icons on your desktop that you don’t use, but you don’t know if they are important or not. You can move these icons into a folder and this way they are still accessible, if needed. Start by right-clicking on your desktop and select New > Folder. Name this folder “Unused Icons”. Drag the icons you do not want to see on your desktop into this folder. Move this folder to a spot on your desktop that is out of the way. If you want to put an icon back, double click on the folder and drag it back on to your desktop.
For the programs you use daily, consider pinning the program to your task bar so you can see them even when you have other programs open. Pin apps to the taskbar by right-clicking the icon you wish to pin, then selecting Pin to taskbar. You can unpin any applications by repeating this process but selecting Unpin to taskbar.
Remove the Junk
Now that you have identified the programs and files you do not need; it is time to remove them. You can remove these items that are no longer needed by:
- Dragging these items into the Recycle Bin located on your desktop
- Open the Disk Cleanup tool by searching in the Windows Search Bar. This tool will identify files that are no longer needed by the Windows OS and will also clear your recycle bin for you.
After removing this clutter, your computer should open programs faster, find files quicker, and allow you to search for applications more swiftly. This in turn will turn up the dial on your productivity.
So now that things are clean, how do you monitor clutter and keep it to a minimum?
- When installing new apps or creating new folders on your computer, move those icons and documents into your desktop folder.
- You can consider scheduling a routine cleaning to corral any stray items that have gathered on your desktop since the last cleanup.
- You may want to hide all of the icons on the desktop by right-clicking on the desktop, going to View and deselecting Show desktop icons in the context menu. Repeat the process to show them again.
- We also suggest rebooting your computer at least once a week as this will automatically clean up any cached data.
If you’re looking for some help to get started, give us a call at 780-701-1838 or send us an email through our contact form.