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How to Pimp Out Your Desktop for Productivity

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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 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

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15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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