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How to Use Your Desktop Properly

February 9, 2022 4:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

I needed to find a folder on my desktop, and I couldn’t find it. Has that ever happened to you? Would you like to use your desktop properly? I think it’s high time to learn how to organize your files, folders, and documents so you don’t waste time.

Let’s Begin to Organize Your Desktop Properly

I read an article by Asian Efficiency about how computer users can become organized. I thought I would share some of their information with you. You won’t believe how much more productive you will be.

Create a Digital Filing Cabinet

Remember in the old days of using the original paper-based filing system? You could create folders and put your files into the folders you created. But with a digital filing system, you can’t reach out and touch, so to speak. With a digital strategy, your computer can become disorganized quickly.

Your mess becomes a digital nightmare unless you recognize you have a problem that you need to tame down. Since this is a digital mess, it’s not pretty when you can’t find a folder or file that you need in a hurry.

Search is handy – but not enough. You do not want to rely strictly on search if you can help it.

For the most part, you can use the same strategy when using Windows or Mac.

What Are Your Goals?

It’s the beginning of the year. Everyone pushes goals, and we are no different. You should have three goals.

There are three main goals for your file organization system:

* Easy to File– Your files and folders should be easy to find. Remember what I went through? I couldn’t find a file. You don’t want that to happen to you.
* Easy to Find – Asian Efficiency recommends you have a system that makes it fast and easy to find what you want.
* Reusable – Where possible, you want to use re-usable templates and naming conventions, both of which support the last two goals.

Tips to Organize Your File System

1. You don’t want to put any files on your desktop.

You want your desktop neat and clean. For example, I have a photo displaying me on my horse many years ago. I certainly don’t want files and folders or documents covering up either of us.

On occasion, it’s okay to put a file or two on your desktop temporarily.

2. Limit folder creation.

A suggestion by Asian Efficiency – you want to limit how many folders you create. The folders you wish to make are ones where you repeatedly need to put similar files in that folder.

3. Name your files and folders strategically

What do I mean by that? I’m using examples that Asian Efficiency documented in their article. One of our goals to use your desktop properly is make our files is “Easy to Find.” To do this, think about the best way to name your files and folders.

Think about saving a phone bill. Do you think phone bill.pdf is a good name? Probably not. July phone bill.pdf is not any better.

So when you’re naming that phone bill, think about how you might look for it. Probably:

The date (I want the July 2017 phone bill)
Company Name (I want the XYZCorp phone bill)
By type of document (I want a phone bill)

So a good name would allow you to look at the files in a folder and right away see what each file is without opening it. It would give you things you can use to search.

So a suitable file name, in this case, could be 2017-07 XYZCorp Bill.pdf

Whether you are naming files or folders, the same concept mentioned above applies to both. It also applies to applications or websites in the Cloud.

4. The Document Folder

How many of you are familiar with and typically use the /username/Documents folder on your Windows or Mac. (Of course, if you use Windows, the slash is a \ instead of a /.)

If you happen to do both work and personal tasks on your computer, why not create two folders to recognize whether they are for business or personal easily? In this case, you will want to use two folders.

If you’re using Dropbox, it could look like this:

If you’re not using Dropbox, you can similarly do:


5. Use Sub-folders When Appropriate

An advantage of using sub-folders is that you can save time, mainly if you use a format structured into logical units of organization, like the type of work, stakeholders, or who you’re reporting to. /archive is where you would move your completed projects when they’re done. How cool would it be to be on vacation on the beach and using the below structure? It would be much easier.


Three More Tips to Use Your Desktop Properly

Let’s look at three more tips to organize efficiently and use your desktop properly.

* Use folder templates – As you work more and more with files and folders, you may notice that you have specific folders and subfolders that you use over and over. This is commonplace when working with financial documents, client work, and project work.

A helpful time-saver is to create a folder template ahead of time with the structure you want to use. In this way, you can just copy over that folder template when you come to a new financial period, onboard a new client, or start a new project.

* Shortcuts, favorites, and launchers will save you time – What about specific folders that you access all the time? Instead of always digging through your file structure to get to it, you can drag the folder to the Finder or File Explorer sidebar. This will create a shortcut directly to that folder, giving you 1-click access.

Pro-tip: This feature is excellent for those folders you permanently need access to, but it is also ideal when working on a project. Drag your project folder(s) to the sidebar while the project continues. When you have finished with it, you can just remove it. Shortcuts can be temporary!

* The final tip for organizing your desktop is automated organizing – Once you have your folder structure set up, you can gain a huge productivity boost by setting up a computerized organization tool like Hazel on Mac or DropIt on Windows.


Asian Efficiency has tutorials on how to organize recurring files (for example, bills or statements. If you can think of a way to build rules for them (for example, “always named xyz” or “always contain the text abc”), you can generate these tools to auto-file the documents for you. All you need to do is scan or download the document, and your application will rename it and whisk it away to the appropriate folder.

Megabite offers classes on a variety of topics. With over 30 titles to choose from, there is something for everybody. You can find out more by calling us at 904-430-0350.

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This post was written by Pam Lokker

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