Organizing with wallpaper
I do my best to organize my work, my at-work work and my home work. One of the things I really enjoy is figuring out how to help people get organized with their work. Finding that sweet spot that lets them have ready access to whatever they need while keeping them confident about their work. That’s why I enjoyed creating software for so long. I’ve made dozens of programs that essentially organize information for people, (hopefully) making their job a little easier. But sometimes it’s the simplest methods that make organizing work best.
While doing some reading around on grid-based design, I came across a blog post that summed up such a simple method of organizing files on your computer desktop that I just sat there smacking my forehead. Once again, I missed a simple solution because I overcomplicated things. I’ve downloaded programs, made my own, looked for widgets…all that in an effort to keep me on track with computer work. But this time the solution is just wallpaper.
This being the wallpaper you add to your desktop. The same wallpaper that is right now quite possibly a picture of your family, your pet, or that pretty little scene of a grass-covered hill that comes with Windows. The problem is I love to use that wallpaper as a form of expression – mine at work prior to today was of Bender – it was particularly useful but looked good when my computer was locked.
I honestly never thought about using the wallpaper as the organizing tool. I think most people will naturally organize their icons around their desktop, often using whatever picture is on the desktop to create regions of the desktop. This wallpaper gives you columns in which to place your icons, and each column is labeled. Simple. Effective.
I took the base wallpaper and edited the labels in Photoshop, which can also easily be done with good old Paint, but it’s easily done by just about anyone and gives you a quick, easy, and always-present organization tool. One problem many org tools have is that you have to load/launch/access them when you want them. In order to achieve effective organization, your tools have to fit in naturally with how you work. Your computer desktop is always there without any effort.
Thanks to Sarah France to creating the base wallpaper for this method. Just try it out and see how it works for you. Maybe not at home, but at work at least.
Originally posted on Dec 16, 2008