Messy

I got the inspiration for this post from the Daily Post.  It’s a feature that I subscribe to that regularly gives ideas for what you might want to post to your blog.  Normally, I smile and continue reading but this one actually had me intrigued.

It’s not really a fair question because my office space is in a cubby off to the side of our bedroom.  On any day, the bedroom is messier — not because it’s messy, but because it’s lived in.  There’s a place for everything and everything is in its place.  It’s just that there are so many places…

I wanted to focus instead on my computer’s desktop.  It’s incredibly clean.

But, it wasn’t always that way.

I used to delude myself in thinking that I could have many major projects on the go and my computer’s desktop was the perfect place to store everything.  But all that changed one day.  I had a support person who was incredibly organized and needed to use my computer because hers was down.  She took one look and said “I can’t work on this!  How the $^#&#^$ can you work like this?”

I used my best teacher voice.

“Whatever do you mean?  Can you show me a better way?”

And, she did.

It turns out that she does use her desktop as a storage place for parts and pieces for current projects.  In progress, her desktop looked very messy and like mine.  But the difference was that only what was needed for the ongoing project was available.  When she was done, it was just a matter of right clicking on the desktop, creating a new folder, lassoing all the pieces and putting them into the folder.  The folder then went into another folder for storage.  At the end of the day, the enclosing folder got copied to a backup drive while she put her coat on.

Continue working on a project?  She opens the big folder, the enclosed folder and then drags all the components to the desktop and picks up where she left off.

Now, I couldn’t just immediately say that she was right and copy her procedure.  My analytical mind said “I could save some time if I just created the folder inside the folder first and work from there”.  It seemed to make sense until a project required components from a number of programs.  Then, I was “Saving As” and trying to hunt down the project folder.

Then, I got her teacher voice.  “You’re doing it wrong.  Weren’t you paying attention?”

So, I got a remedial lesson and started counting keystroke and mouse clicks.  Darned if her method wasn’t more efficient.  In fact, the more involved and diverse the project, the more efficient the technique.

I learned the lesson and every desktop that I’ve used ever since is very clean and I use her technique daily.

As I write this post, I’m in ScribeFire in Firefox but I’ve done some screen captures to illustrate my points

I don’t care where they land.  As soon as I publish the post and check to make sure that everything’s online properly, they’re headed to the special folder that looks like a recycle bin.  And, I’ll be back to clean.

Now, the keen eye will notice that there’s a folder called “Doug’s Documents” and another called “Windows”.  That’s where everything ultimately ends up.

I know the Psych major out there will quickly identify this as superstitious behaviour.  But it’s worked well for me.

Do you have a better way of organizing things?

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