Do you end up with millions of random
files and folders littering your computer desktop? Here’s a system for
organization that’s both logical and fun.
Setup: Create five folders for everything
These folders will contain all of your documents. Once you’ve
implemented the system, nothing should touch your desktop again.
They’re numbered so that when you arrange the folders by name, they
remain in order:
Put unprocessed items that don’t have a place yet in here.
Put items requiring an action that takes more than 2 minutes in here.
Put items you aren’t yet ready to do or complete in here.
“3. Current Projects”
Put files related to active projects in here.
Put completed projects, general reference items, and anything else you might want to look at again in here.
After you’ve created the five folders above, make aliases or shortcuts to them on your desktop.
Usage: Process, Organize, Review
You’re now all set and ready to clean your desktop. The steps below are adapted from David Allen’s GTD system:
Put all files and folders (except the five you’ve just created) on your
desktop into the “0. Inbox” folder. Now open up this folder and process
them one at a time. Start by asking yourself: can I act on this file?
If it takes less than two minutes, just do it. If it will take more
time, put it in “1. Actions” or “3. Current Projects”.
If the file has no immediate action for you to do, you can trash it, put it in “2. Incubate”, or put it in “4. Archives”.
The most important part of the system is setting up reviews for you to
process your inbox and organize your files. Process your “0. Inbox” as
often as you like throughout the day. You must empty it at the end of
the day. At the end of the week, move completed projects in “3. Current
Projects” into “4. Archive”, and go through your “2. Incubate” folder
and decide if you’re ready to act on any of the files. At the end of
the month, go through your “5. Archive” folder and prune any files you
don’t think you’ll ever need again.
Your desktop should now be clutter-free.
Set your web browsers, FTP, and other sharing applications to download files to “0. Inbox” instead of the desktop.