A typical computer desktop?

Most people’s computer desktops fall into one of three categories:

Spartan/Minimalist - Perfectly clean with just a small handful of oft-used icons strategically placed.

Cluttered, chaotic and disorderly – icons on your desktop are analogous to sardines in tins, rarely, if ever cleaned up.

The Filing Procrastinator - You’ve tried, bless you, but you’re losing the cluttered desktop war. Most people fall into this category (to varying degrees) and I would include myself in that. I have a bout of desktop clearing every now and then but my clearing antics are always swiftly countered by a returning salvo of new icons/files flooding in.

If you fall into one of the latter two categories, this might be just the answer. Zoned DesktopYou can download a blank version as a desktop wallpaper at the correct resolution for your computer which neatly divides up the available screen real estate into ‘zones’. While you might not be able to relate to all of them, most computer users must surely raise their hands to having some of this content cluttering their desktops.

I particularly like the ‘Side Side Projects’ area and I’m certainly incredibly guilty of having an overflowing zone of (legal) ‘papers you’ve been meaning to read for months’ sitting there right in front of me but continuously ignored. Also, for certain projects (particularly protracted ones) I often place a ‘to do’ list on my desktop though I frankly don’t know why I bother, for all the good they do! Moreover, I like (and can readily relate to) the subtle yet important difference in prioritisation between the content of the ‘to do’ list and the ‘to really do’ list. And yes, I’m guilty of usually having a ‘supposed to have done last week’ list which is far longer than it should be.

But best of all, an awful lot of my desktop clutter stems from the ‘stuff you don’t know what to do with but don’t want to delete’ category. After all, it might prove useful some day.


  1. My Dear Michael,

    How can anyone POSSIBLY have a minimalist desktop?!?!?!?! These are very SAD people!!!!! LET there be the clutter of interesting projects things to do and to read -we postgrads cannot escape such a happy fate!

    My GOD, if a minimalist had even the slightest SIGHT of my desktop, he would turn to STONE!

    ( that said, I'll just go quietly off and check out the desktop wall paper.......)

  2. Good one, Minxy. :-) While the concept of a minimalist desktop might seem alien concepts to us, there are others out there with different working practices. Hard to believe, I know! :p
    Even Andro is bordering on sporting a minimalist computer desktop!

  3. ha ha, great post. I'm currently a minimalist - icons on my desktop being mostly of the "things I've installed by don't know what they are" type. The reason? there is really only 3 things I use on my computer - Firefox, itunes and Microsoft word. There are pdfs that get saved into some random folder and I have to go looking for them though.
    As an undergrad when I had loads of papers to read I had a very cluttered desktop - organised, but cluttered - but i'm totally loving that organised but cluttered desktop - such a great idea.

  4. I am the same as travisthetrout...my desktop is clean but most of it is stuff that I have installed and don't know what to do with now. All I use is Firefox and the odd Word now n then when i have Spanish assessments due.

  5. Wow... you guys are lucky only having to use 2 or 3 apps.

    But don't any of you even use Windows Live Writer for blogging for instance? :-0

  6. yea I use live writer for blogging, but given that I normally have firefox open and it is *such* a hassle to minimise (also frequently decides to crash my computer), I've no short cut to it but press the windows button and have it appear at the top of my start menu list - it's much quicker just to click that.

  7. Well spotted, Michael! I've always kept my desktop tidy at home, and never understood why people placed shortcuts to documents and folders there.... until I started working. You should see my work pc desktop; there's lots of stuff on it, but everything's there for a reason!


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