Keep a tidy desktop

In which a tidy desktop is a tidy mind.

Messy desk at work

Empty, not an icon to be seen. My desktop is as vacant as Windows will allow with only a solitary Recycle Bin sitting empty and unused. Nothing gets kept on the desktop; not a shortcut, rogue text file or gif. My physical desk is as empty as possible so the electronic version reflects reality. It all comes down to organisation.

Basic organisation of anything is not hard, when you name your files properly you can quickly find what you are looking for saving you more time to do fun things like drink tea and eat biscuits. Unfortunately when it is easier to make a mess most people will resort to a lackadaisical system of bad labeling and filing. Which is why most people’s desktops are a mess of badly named files.

When saving a document you get given the option to save it as something boring and uninformative like “Book1” or “Document1”. You are also given at the same time the opportunity to give it a proper name, it’s like walking to the edge of a cliff and failing to turn around at the last-minute because “I was going in that direction and it was too much effort to change direction”.

If you already have your Book1 then you are politely asked if you want to save over it (and if you do by accident then this is a form of naming karma) or rename it. Here is a chance of redemption, you are now actually going to type something in the Save As box. So what do most people do?

Add more numbers to the end. And thus Book11111 was born.

How do you (let alone anyone else) know what is in them? This means you have to check every file for the one that contains the snippet of data or analysis you need. The seconds you gained by being lazy when saving now means minutes lost trying to find the right file. What data does data contain? Are they weather or financial forecasts?
Name your files properly:

  • Give them a date so you know when you created the file
  • Give a proper (and if necessary long) file name. You are not really restricted by a character limit so make sure you explain what can be found when you open it.
  • Add a version number, just in case you have to make changes and want to make sure users are using the latest version

The only issue here is the date format at the beginning, don’t be fooling into trying the DD-MM-YYYY (or for my transatlantic readers MM-DD-YYYY), in the long run this will leave you with files all out of sync as it will order them by the starting number. The only way you can correct this is by using YYYY-MM-DD.

As easy as it is to change the filename you can also put that file in a folder, it doesn’t have to reside on the desktop. It’s the equivalent of leaving everything on the kitchen table and expecting to be able to easily find what you are looking for, and having a well-functioning surface that you can eat of.

Source: Surface

Author: geekergosum

Ah, so you worked out the riddle. You just needed to use dwarfish and the doors to Geek Ergo Sum opened. Or perhaps you just used Google. Either way you are here, on my little corner of the Internet.

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