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Best Practices for Desktop Icons

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  • Best Practices for Desktop Icons

    I have 221 icons on my desktop. That leaves just once space left for me to put another icon! This mess needs sorting, but why does it occur in the first place? Must be some faulty thinking on my part. Anyone else encounter this?

    Can GTD help with this or has anybody got a good solution?

    Let me give you examples of what are on there.

    1. Some webpages dragged from another server for me to temporarily work on. They are "in progress" if you like as I am testing, tweaking and having them on the desktop. When the project is finally done I will delete them. So, I figure I want them for easy access.

    2. I have a project where I am recruiting. So I have a folder called Offshore Recruitment, which is on my desktop. I leave it there for visibility. Out of sight, out of mind.

    3. Various text files on my desktop for stuff I have noted and want to look at or have reference to.

    4. Spreadsheets of data and stats. Handy! lol

    5. Shortcut links to commonly used programs.

    6. pdf files that need reading at some stage.

    7. Folder called LimeSurvey which is a php survey tool. I must get to installing that.

    I could go on but that will do for now.

    Can someone shed light on this subject, which I am sure is a common problem?



  • #2
    I rarely use desktop icons. I like wallpaper, and icons get in the way. So I hide them all.

    My most frequently used programs are on the taskbar on the lower left, as well as shortcuts to frequently used folders.


    • #3
      Your .pdf files could be consolidated into a folder of material to read. Same thing for the websites you are working on (into a folder labeled websites to work on). There are probably other natural categories for some of your other items. Those and everything else could be moved into your Programs folders under your Start button or to other logical locations off of your desktop. This would clear the clutter from your desktop.

      I think of the computer desktop as a special place for a few constantly used items, but should not become a dumping ground for things that should be organized elsewhere.

      You wouldn't try to keep everything on your physical desktop either. That is a working space, not a storage space.


      • #4
        Originally posted by KellySY View Post
        I rarely use desktop icons. I like wallpaper, and icons get in the way. So I hide them all.

        My most frequently used programs are on the taskbar on the lower left, as well as shortcuts to frequently used folders.
        Same here. I have 11 icons on the left of my desktop. They are the "my computer" & office types icons. Since I shifted to use Humanized Enso Launcher, I seldom use them anyway.(one cool feature of that cute little program is it can launch anything on your start menu with just a few keyboard types. It is not hotkey, as it uses the program names)

        I thought of deleting all of them, but it feels a bit awkward. In any case, you don"t need that many icons to clutter up your space.


        • #5
          I keep a clean desktop except for the stuff the lan lords stick on there. I use a custom Windows Toolbar for all the things I want to get to quickly. This replaces the Office shortcut bar that Microsoft got rid of.

          Here's a link that looks like it should tell you how to set one up (I can't see the video because the active content is stripped out by the firewall here at work). I keep mine parked vertically along the right side of the screen.


          • #6
            PC Desktop...Like My Real Desktop...

            I like to keep things off of the desktop on my computer...just like my real desktop. I currently have 2 icons on my desktop that connect me to network drives at work. Other than that...things go in my A-Z folder system. Occassionally I will put a folder on the desktop to house temporary files for a current project. If I will be keeping the files around I go ahead and make a folder for the project in my A-Z file. Only if the files are decidedly temporary will I store them on my desktop.



            • #7
              I have six icons on my desktop (aliases to folders): Action Items, Someday/Maybe, Waiting For, Read/Review, and Projects, and one for my most frequently worked on project.


              • #8
                You might want to have a look at "Five Steps to a Kinkless Desktop." It was created on a Mac, but the first two steps apply to Windows or Mac users. And the creator, Ethan Schoonover, is a GTDer and part of the team at Omnigroup that is developing a GTD app called OmniFocus.


                • #9
                  I personally only use my desktop for a few shortcuts to files I access all the time and not so much as a system but it seems to me that your desktop has changed into just another pile. Things that need to be processed one at a time to determine if they really are in the best place they need to be and what the next action to take on each is.


                  • #10
                    Dusting your Desktop

                    There's a useful tool on your desktop that will remove all your inactive icons (shortcuts).

                    Just right click on your desk top and select Arrange Icons By and then Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard.

                    You are given the choice of which icons are left on the desktop. The remainder are kept in an Unused Desktop Folder on your desktop where you get get them back from if you need them.



                    • #11
                      gwelch's post hit the nail on the head. Keep your desktop clean, put files in appropriate project or reference folders (you may need to do some thinking about your needs, then set them up), but possibly keep aliases to (a handful at most) current project folders.

                      If the PDFs are project-related, put them in the corresponding folder (named the same as the project, of course). If they're in support of action (i.e., you are committed to reading them), put them in the project folder or an Action Support, if they don't warrant one. Otherwise, create a Read/Review folder for handing them opportunistically.

                      Regarding the program to install, again it goes into project, Action Support, or possibly a Someday/Maybe folder.

                      Hope that helps!


                      • #12
                        Same as Paper

                        I created four folders on my desktop similar to my physical desk setup. The folders include inbox, read/review, work in progress, and trash. I process electronic files the same as I do paper. Miscellaneous electronic files such as certain email attachments, internet downloaded files, or other files that manage to collect on my desktop get put in the inbox until I have time to process them just like my physical inbox. I use the trash folder instead of the recycle bin to give me one more step before permanently removing the file from my computer.

                        I use the quick launch toolbar in Windows XP to store application shortcuts instead of the desktop.


                        • #13
                          Kinkless desktop ...

                          Some really great ideas here - even if you don't go the whole hog.


                          (It's for Mac-users principally but still worth a look for Windows users.)

                          HTH - J.


                          • #14
                            The Ready-Set-Do! Desktop

                            Here's a picture of the Ready-Set-Do! desktop for the Mac.
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by Todd V; 07-01-2011, 10:56 PM.