Tag Archives: digital organization

Digital Organization: The Desktop

Oooohhh! The desktop! Mine’s been driving me NUTS for weeks now. I’m one of those visual types who needs to see things in order to remember they’re there. I loved having a Mac years ago because whenever I hit “download” it downloaded directly to my desktop and I never had to hunt for this PDF or that JPEG. When I inherited a PC laptop from my hubby (then boyfriend), I intentionally moved important downloads and documents to my desktop so I could keep track of them, just like I was used to on my work Mac computer. Well, despite my usual vigilance to keep things “pretty,” I let things slide and here is what my desktop looked like last night:

Woah! Stuff everywhere. It was hard on the eyes, hard to find anything important, and not very inspirational.

So, just as a quick clean-up, here’s what I did:

  1. I deleted any shortcut icon for a program I rarely used. When you install these little programs they make themselves a shortcut for you. How convenient. Except I’m okay with clicking on the Start Menu, thank-you-very-much. If I need you, I’ll find you.
  2. I dragged any shortcut icons of programs I use on a regular basis down to the start menu task bar on the bottom of the screen. I rearranged them by type (iTunes and Spotify are both music programs, for instance,) and voila! Instant order! YES. Love it.
  3. I created a SORT! folder and dragged all icons of files that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them into that file. Yes, it is delaying the inevitable, but the goal was to clean up the visual mess. I’ll get to the real digital organizing at a later date.
  4. I created a To Read folder for all the PDF downloads from great blogs I’ve visited. There are several downloads about growing your creative business that I really wanted to read, but just couldn’t see in all that mess. Now I know where to go for my reading material.
  5. I kept the folders for our different businesses and this blog, so I had easy access to those files.
  6. I went to WallBase.cc¬† (at Daniel’s recommendation) to find a good background to download. The one I chose really spoke to me and my purpose for cleaning up my desktop.
  7. I rearranged the folder icons and moved my Recycle Bin a bit to be visually-pleasing and in places that made sense.
  8. Done!

It’s a great feeling to have simplified my desktop. In fact, now I’m inspired to write more and read more of the many downloads I have stored away for future inspiration. I’m pleased with the result, and hope it will inspire you, as well!

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Filed under Digital Organization, Media, Organizing

Digital Organization: Blogs

Today I’m returning to the topic of digital organization. My first post on the topic was directed toward my email Inbox, but today I am turning my attention toward keeping up with all the blogs that I follow.

I love writing, and I love reading blogs. It seems like every time I find a new blog to follow it connects me with others and keeping up with them all can become overwhelming. For awhile, I subscribed to most blogs by having them sent to my Inbox, but that got old fast. The more connected our world gets, the more I want my Inbox to be set aside for just my friends, family, and important business contacts so I don’t see 5,000 unread emails staring at me each morning. Or better yet, I’d rather just see my loved ones in person or speak on the phone.

I had tried using RSS subscription services in the past, but they always seemed so clunky and I couldn’t easily browse them like I thought I should be able to do. Reluctantly at first, I dabbled with Google Reader. That dabbling quickly became my central hub for tracking all of the blogs I found and enjoyed.

Here’s why I like me some Google Reader:

  • Sorting – I can sort by newest, oldest, or “by magic.” I’m not exactly sure what “by magic” does, but it came up with a post full of human interest and lots of photos of people doing family things, mixed in with some DIY and hairstyle tips. So maybe it sorts by content? (A quick check online indicates it works a bit like iTunes Genius … it shows you content similar to the feeds you check the most. I think it got it right in my case, too.)
  • ¬†Access – There is a frame on the left-hand side that keeps up with all my feeds, alphabetically, so I can skip right to the one I really want to read if I’m not in a slowly browsing kind of mood. Or you can hide them all with a quick click of the button and just browse away, based on the sorting method chosen.
  • Playtime – You can view your items in “Reader Play”, which, instead of a vertical read, shows up as an item-by-item timeline, similar to how you would view digital photographs or iTunes music in browse. It has a black background, instead of the usual white background.
  • Suggestions – Browse for Stuff > Recommendations is brilliant. While it did suggest many blogs I already follow, that just goes to show it really works. And yes, I’ve added blogs this way.
  • Simplicity – Despite my love for new technology, I’ve become an old fuddy duddy in that I like my tech simple. I don’t want a million new ways to do things, I just want one way to do things quickly, easily, without hassle, and without too many visual distractions. Google Reader does this for me. I love it.

So, here’s a screen shot from this morning’s feed:

This was from a “Sort by Newest,” and it showed my feed from Design to Inspire’s newest post. You can see that on the left is my lineup, as well as browsing options. Across the top is where I can mark items as read, sort my feeds, etc.

Here is a sample of viewing in “Reader Play,” sorted by Magic:

Uh, hello. Star Wars snowflake tutorial? Sign me up!

And that’s about it. I just keep rolling the scroll wheel on my mouse and can browse all my favorite and new favorite sites at my leisure. Now the only problem is keeping my list pared down to the essentials and not wasting time. But that’s another post.

Until then, have a lovely day! And go sign up for Google Reader so you can keep all your favorite reads in one spot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hunting for that lovely RSS feed logo on each blog you visit and clicking away, happy in the knowledge that you can visit at any time you please simply by signing into Google Reader when the time is right for you.


Filed under Balance, Media, Organizing