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How to Pimp Out Your Desktop for Productivity

How to Pimp Out Your Desktop for Productivity
Clean Desktop

Is your desktop a cluttered mess? If you’re like me, then your desktop can quickly get overloaded with unused icons, folders, and miscellaneous junk. Thankfully, I have turned from my woeful ways and would like to teach you how to do the same.

By the title of this article, you may have thought that it was going to be about desktop themes and cool tools, but that’s really not the main point here.

You will definitely find some cool tools here for your desktop, but they have only been included because they enhance your overall productivity.

What’s the use in having a pimped out desktop with killer design if it’s cluttered with unused icons and useless gadgets? This article will show you how to create a sleek, powerful desktop designed for optimum productivity. In addition, you will also find a few cool desktop tools for the inner geek in all of us.

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But first, you have to do a ruthless clean up of your desktop. You must get everything down to the bare minimum.


Get rid of all of your unused desktop icons. If you have any icons on your desktop that you don’t use everyday, then delete them.

If you have any folders or programs that you just can’t bear to take off the desktop, then create a new folder and place all of those applications into this folder.

The goal of this exercise is to get your number of desktop icons down to 3 or less. Yes, I know it sounds hard, but I promise it’s doable and the zen-like state of a clear desktop is well worth it.

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The next step is to remove unused icons from your system tray. The system tray is the area located in the bottom right of your taskbar in Windows. This area can quickly get filled with unused icons if you’re not careful. To keep this area clean and efficient, be sure to delete unused icons on a regular basis. The key to a productive workspace is a minimalist design.

Now that you’ve cleaned up your desktop, it’s time to have a bit of fun.

One of the few desktop gadgets that I actually recommend is known as ObjectDock. This is a program that enables users to organize their shortcuts, programs, and other utilities into an animated Dock that looks a lot like the animated Mac taskbar.

This tool will help you to organize all of your favorite applications without the need for having those icons all over the screen. Download ObjectDock and start reclaiming your desktop’s valuable real estate.

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There’s one final tool I recommend for customizing your desktop for ultimate productivity.
It’s known as Launchy. This tool eliminates the need for having any folders on your desktop or even a Start menu. Launchy allows you to search intelligently for programs and launch them with a single click. It’s a smart search program, which tries to guess which program or file you are looking for as you type.

Plus, Launchy also has a number of additional features which allow you to:

  • perform web searches
  • build and run custom commands
  • search all of your FireFox bookmarks
  • and much more…

Launchy provides a number of plugins that give you even more searching power.

You truly have to try this program out for yourself to discover it’s smart searching powers.

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If you know of any other tips and tricks for designing your desktop for ultimate productivity, please feel free to add them in the comments.

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at The Optimized Life. Read her articles on What’s Your Learning Style, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need a Braindump, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and Free Yourself From the Inbox.

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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