Is your desktop screen clutter free right now? You either have an obstruction free view of your wallpaper or a mosaic of thumbnails that have been living in your desktop real estate rent-free . If the latter, it could be worth exercising your landlord rights and giving your desktop screen a clean refresh. When I login to my laptop and see a clean desktop screen it makes me feel organised and less distracted, allowing me to focus on my work.

Over the years I’ve gone through many different approaches to keeping my digital files tidy. After many iterations, I’ve found a system that works much better than anything I previously used. Below are a series of named folders I use to organize my files: 

00_ADMIN
01_ASSETS 
02_ACTIVE PROJECTS
03_MISC 
04_ARCHIVE QUEUE
05_ARCHIVE COMPLETE
06_UNSORTED  

A good majority of my desktop clutter can be easily sorted into these categories. I place these folders in my default [DOCUMENTS] folder. The numbers prefixed are to have them listed in the order that I wish versus having them listed alphabetically.

00_ADMIN 

This is where I keep administrative files such as contracts, payslips, certificates, invoices etc.  

01_ASSETS 

Frequently used assets such as branding graphics, design templates, release forms etc. Having these files here, saves me time from navigating the staff portal whenever I need one of them.  

02_ACTIVE PROJECTS 

Projects that I am currently working on.

03_MISC 

Those odd files that aren’t quite project related or administrative but I want to keep on hand e.g. campus map.

04_ARCHIVE QUEUE 

This is where I put completed projects and files that need to get backed up into the cloud (OneDrive) for data redundancy measures.  

05_ARCHIVE COMPLETE 

These are for projects and files that have successfully been backed up into the cloud (OneDrive) but I don’t want to yet remove from my computer. If I needed to clear space on my hard drive I can come here and delete anything without worry because they’ve already been backed up. 

06_UNSORTED 

This is my cheat way of clearing the desktop for an immediate clutter free visual effect. These would at some point need to be organised into the above folders.

This is what works for me and the work I do with media related projects. There may be other naming conventions that work much better for you. I could however be very late to the party and be the last person in Macquarie University to implement some structure and tidyness to my computer’s files 😅

Lastly, every now and then I like to change my desktop wallpaper to give it that digital ‘new car smell’. I find unsplash.com great for high quality wallpapers. I currently have a surfing wallpaper in place – some inspiration to take it up this Summer!  

If you’ve found some alternative naming structures that work for you, feel free to share in the comments.  

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Posted by Michael Garganera

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