Did you ever find yourself lost in a sea of files and archives, the desktop full of things you don’t remember, the status bar showing 20 different icons, notifications every 10 minutes and a dock full of applications?
Maybe it’s time you strategize your digital life and organise your Mac. It will make your life so much easier. This way, you’ll know what you really need to save on your hard drive, you’ll need less space (meaning you’ll have to erase things less often) and your interface will look cleaner and nicer. Because there’s enough noise out there to have it on your computer too. Or phone. Nowadays, these devices are our second home.
A place for each thing and everything in its place
The best way to start is to organize your folders as you need, and have as many folders as you’d like. In a way, your mac (or pc) will probably help you a bit. Movies, Music, Documents and Pictures have their own folders already. Do you use them for that? Instead of saving your newest pictures to a document folder with the name of your camera you could try and use the pictures folders. If you download a book, movie or picture don’t let it rest in the downloads folder. Download it right away into the folder they belong to or move them without waiting.
For photos, I don’t use the Photos application. First of all, it uses far too space. Also, I’d have to manually select the pictures I want to copy on my hard drive or move the whole library around. In addition, it makes me go through a long menu to be able to open them on Photoshop. I’d rather use Image Capture to load the pictures into the camera and choose where to store them. Then I just preview them or drop them into the app I need to.
The best way to have a clean desktop is to not store anything in there and keep everything organised. You should move it to the right folder or make a new one in the right category. I have this bad habit of leaving these things I think of “temporary” in there but they end being around for ages. The worst thing is that they could actually be in the trash right now or in their own folder.
Don’t store apps you don’t use. There was a time when I wouldn’t have internet at home and because of that I just downloaded everything. I still find myself storing things when I don’t need to. If it’s something that will stay online, don’t download it. If it’s valuable, you’ll know how to find it. In case you’re afraid you don’t, share it on one of your social networks or save it as a favourite. To erase apps I use Appcleaner, it will erase the files that are stored out of your sight so you don’t end eaten up by old useless apps files that you don’t see.
In order to have a clean menu bar, you’ll have to go to System Preferences and go from menu to menu to unmark the checked boxes that say “show in menu bar”. For example, you’ll have to go the network for the wifi icon, to energy saver for the battery one, to users – login options for the username etc. I like to only have the battery menu. Also, I don’t use the native battery status from the MacBook. Instead, I use Slim Battery Monitor, that lets me change the moment when the MacBook tells me I need to connect it to charge and I can change the looks of the icon.
For the clock and date, I prefer to use the ones on the dashboard. Same for wifi networks (when not connected automatically I can check them in 2 clicks – I keep the System Preferences app on the Dock bar).
Change your interface to help you to work better and smarter. You know most apps have shortcuts. Use them or change them or add some of them. They make life easier and you’ll be quicker at whatever you do. Invest a few minutes to learn them and you’ll save many more in the future. I promise.
Furthermore, you can change which tools show and how they are distributed on your screen in most applications. You could start by changing the position of your dock (if another one fits you best) and get to play with the reader option on safari. Or download a writing app that will block out everything else.
“The key to an organized life is thinking carefully and taking decisions upfront.” We are used to going by reaction instead of action but a little thought here and there can help a lot. Maybe just writing the things you wanna do at the start of the day will stop you from procrastinating and from mindlessly falling from activity to activity.
On your phone
Certainly, a place where we spend a lot of time. And most of it is not productive. In this case, you may not have to create folders and organize files, but probably you should do so with apps and crap. All those gifs and pictures from the messaging apps that are just silly? Cut the crap! The apps you don’t use, erase. The ones you shouldn’t use, keep them far from reach.
Need more advice? Take this.
Some more reading.
How do you keep track of all your digital stuff? Tell me in the comments!