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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 November 5, 2019

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

1. Always Have a Book

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

3. Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4. Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said,

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

5. Put it Into Practice

Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

6. Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

7. Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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8. Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

9. Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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11. Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

12. Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

13. The Morning Fifteen

Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14. Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15. Make Learning a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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