Computer Inventory, Part 2

by JL Beeken on 6-29-2010

My desktop is running again, albeit with only one monitor until the other graphics card is installed.

Meanwhile, I’ve implemented my new folder division, as described in Computer Inventory, Part 1. While my computer was down, I had five days to look from a distance, instead of the usual myopia and map out on paper what I think is a better plan.

While I was gone for over a year helping the college get out of their problems I pretty well neglected my own. Coming back to my computer files, after deleting GBs of theirs that had infiltrated every nook and cranny, and having a look around it’s been quite a shock to see the level of neglect and general disorder. At the same time I’m a little computer-weary and wouldn’t mind spending the time I spend more realistically. I’m not getting any younger. And it’s summertime.

My Documents

My Documents

Everything in My Documents (69,600 files, 5,201 folders, 124 GB) is now broken down into 12 main folders. I know, it started out being five but by the time the dust settled… That includes My Dropbox, My Music, My Pictures and My Videos. And there’s also one called 0.Inbox which sits at the top of the list; the initial stop for anything incoming that’s cleared out everyday.

There’s a shortcut to each of these folders on my desktop. And that’s all except for the Recycle Bin.

If you’re one of those people who has shortcuts all over your desktop, wallpapered from one end to the other, it might be a better idea to keep them in the Quick Launch menu. I’m not acquainted with Windows 7 but, for sure, that applies to XP. Shortcuts all over your desktop have the psychological effect of making you feel overwhelmed. Argue this theory if you will.

The wisest thing I ever heard said about computers is this: “Do not ever sit down at your computer without a plan.”

You know how this goes. You start with your email. Then you’re surfing around the net and watching a video here and there. The next thing you know 6 hours have passed and you really haven’t gotten a darn thing done. Worst of all, you may be unconscious of what this is doing to your body. You know, that thing that extends from the top of your head down to where your feet meet the ground.

Lightning

Lightning

So, the 12 shortcuts on my desktop represent the 12 main areas of my computer work. Maybe yours break down into 5 or 20? It doesn’t take a genius to realize that I cannot work on all of it everyday. If I’m honest, I know I won’t get through even a drop in the ocean of it in my lifetime. So, when I sit down I’m confronted with a choice. Door Number 1 or Door Number 2 or …? Do I want to spend an hour or two working in the ANCESTORS folder, or do I need to spend some time in PERSONAL? or on my WEBSITE? or cleaning up the riff-raff in PC TOOLS?

I have a to-do list in Lightning, a calendar add-on for Thunderbird. I’ve made a matching set of categories in there. I’m not a big fan of to-do lists because they have a way of taking off for the wild blue yonder. But sometimes they seem necessary.

Here comes the pile-driver. Having established a main folder system that makes sense to me, I’ve also made matching categories in EverNote 2, in Zotero, in my Firefox bookmarks and in KeePass. Everything is sorted into one of the 12 categories. Everywhere. OK, now we’re cookin’!

So, no matter where I am on my computer, there’s a laser-focus on my path. Like blinders on a horse. No side view.

Those of you who have already tried every organizational system known to man are probably laughing. Wish me luck. Here I go …

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