Respect the view

The upside to decluttering your desktop

Wednesday, March 3 2021
I recently got a ✨brand ✨new ✨MacBook for the first time in 4 years, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s Space Gray with a keyboard that isn’t too clicky and that neat touch bar I was missing out on. I’ve decided that the best way to honor its gorgeousness was to finally be organized and mindful with my files.

Before, I used to download and export files directly to the desktop. From there I’d rummage through arbitrary screenshots and memes and UI samples to then drag and drop what I was looking for into Slack or email. My desktop would grow cluttered and pretty soon every available space would be at least three files deep.

I attempted a folder system to curb this but eventually got lazy and misplaced files with the hopes I’d reorganize in the near future.

My old cluttered desktop

Well, I never did, and now I’m here with my ✨brand ✨new ✨MacBook. It’s time to get my act together now before it’s too late.

Respect the view

According to Vox, American adults spend about 28 hours scrolling through their phones a week. Add that to the 40+ hours a week most people spend online for work, and you get what’s called digital fatigue. Exposure to such astronomical amounts of information per hour, per day, per year, quickly messes with our ability to be productive and happy.

As the pandemic continues, people will heavily rely on their devices to provide them with human connections, entertainment, and, for many, access to do their jobs.

One small way to ease fatigue is to get rid of the eyesore that is the cluttered desktop. I’m extreme about this, but here are some ideas:
  • I don’t let anything sit on my desktop, at all. No more old screenshots, memes, or even folders.
  • All of my documents are in their respective folders within the Documents folder. They are all named appropriately and, depending on the use case, numbered.
An example of how I number my files. I don’t number everything, only when it makes sense for me.

  • I clean out my trash bin every time I throw something in there. That way I know what it is I’m throwing away and that it’s out of sight, out of mind.
  • My dock only has the apps I rely on on a daily basis. For me, that includes Finder (cuz I can’t get rid of it), Google Chrome, Slack, and Figma. I pull up other apps, like Spotify, when I need them.
  • I close out all of my apps, including Chrome tabs, before I put my laptop away for the day.
My minimalist dock. It just has Finder, Google Chrome, Slack, and Figma. And a clean trashbin 🙂

The result?

It has been really satisfying to open up my Mac and feel that it has still retained its newness. Having a clean desktop means you aren’t reminded about yesterday’s work until you are ready to face it on your own time. My dock always has the same 4, reliable apps that I need to get me through the day.

Everything adds to the feeling of a fresh start.

Not to mention that now I can actually see my wallpaper, and can therefore appreciate it. I haven’t really left my apartment since the pandemic started, so it’s nice that, in a small way, I can escape to the Catalina shores every morning. Instead of littering the image with memes, I can finally respect the view and feel grateful that I’m here. 😌

My clean desktop. I swap out my wallpaper whenever I want a different view.