Spring Cleaning


Spring! It's finally (finally!) here. While you are hopefully spending a significantly greater amount of time outdoors soaking up those much missed rays, you will probably be spending some time (the next time it rains) packing away all of those oversized sweaters and puffy coats and reinstating your warm weather wardrobe. Ahh, doesn't it feel spectacular? Well, it's totally worth it to carry over the spring cleaning spirit to the workplace. A clean desktop and a clear head await.

1. Declutter.
Clean up your desktop. File away anything you do need. Archive anything you might need. Delete all those screenshots and everything else you don't need. Get everything in order and then recommit to maintaining a clean desktop. Once a week. It'll take five minutes.

2. You know that "to sort" folder? Yeah, that one that you just dropped all your desktop files into? Yeah, it's time to sort.
This one will take some time, and your thinking cap. Do a thorough sorting exercise. This means you'll probably have to open a bunch of files to figure out what's in them, possibly consolidate multiple files to a master version, and ditch anything you really don't need. Don't procrastinate any longer. Your future self will thank you.

3. File everything away. Label appropriately.
Does your file naming structure need to be tweaked? Is anything filed in a counterintuitive place or improperly named? Proper labeling is really an extension of sorting, and should be done in tandem whenever possible. However, sometimes mass file buildup occurs (of images, perhaps?), and an extensive labeling session is required.

4. Take out the trash.
You've just got to pull the trigger. It's time to delete those files that have been sitting in your trash can just taking up space for three months. Look through all the files, take anything you can't bear to part with out of the trash, take a deep breath, and hit delete. You'll feel lighter!

5. Freshen up.
Now that you've got a nice clean desktop, why don't you fill it with a new, beautiful image? Go ahead, mix it up. It's something we often overlook, but the artwork on our desktop background is something we look at a lot during the week. Make it a little more you! Plus, it's more motivation to keep that desktop clean.

Shannon Ruetsch is a user experience consultant based in New York City. She has an avid fondness for making lists and getting things done, but loves nothing more than getting lost in a good book. Say hello.