National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day: A Chance to Organise

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day: A Chance to Organise

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day: A Chance to Organise image

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day: A Chance to Organise

There’s an old idiom: ‘Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind’, meaning that a cluttered or disorganised environment may affect your ability to think clearly. This doesn’t just apply to your physical environment, but to your virtual environments too.

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day takes place each year on the third Monday in October. This year, it falls on October 17th, 2022. This day is your chance to take back control of the sprawling clutter on your desktop, and organise your files better.

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The History of National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day

It began as an initiative thought up by the people at the Personal Computer Museum, in Ontario, Canada, back in 2010.

It was seen as a way to encourage people to sort out their desktops, and return them to a state closer to how they were when they first purchased their computer.

As part of the sorting process, any files no longer needed could be discarded and removed, and any important files could be backed up on external disk drives or saved to the cloud.

The Psychology of Having a Clean Workspace

There are some psychological benefits to having a less cluttered desktop.

It is said a clearer workspace promotes confidence and reducing anxiety.

In this article by Alice Boyes Ph.D. she explores 6 Benefits of an Uncluttered Space, and why it’s important to declutter for our mental health.

‘When things feel out of order, it can make us feel scattered and anxious’. - Alice Boyes Ph.D. Click to Tweet

Wait! Being Messy Isn’t All Bad

However, here’s a contradiction to the positive beliefs on an uncluttered workspace. There’s strong evidence to believe that accumulating a lot of clutter could be linked to higher intelligence and greater creativity, if you have something called ‘Chronic Disorganisation’.

This article on Lifehack explains this theory deeper.

Despite this, even the chronically disorganised can benefit from a day to tidy and reorganise every now and then.

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day -Richard Tubb-Blog Graphics

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How You Can Observe National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day

It’s not just about reducing the number of shortcuts and icons on your desktop. There are many ways to celebrate National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day.

Before You Begin, Back Up Your Files

If it’s something you forget about doing, make this day an excuse to back up your files. If you happen to delete something you later realise you actually needed, you’ll know that it was saved in your back up before you started the cleaning process.

Sort Through What You Need and Don’t Need

If your desktop background is obscured with lots of icons and shortcuts, you probably need to go through these thumbnails and determine if they’re things you need on your desktop.

These will probably be a mixture of files and program shortcuts. If your desktop doesn’t have many icons on it, you can sort through your documents folders instead.

Recycle Documents You No Longer Need

Obvious examples include old project files, previous years’ accounting spreadsheets and anything you’ve worked on with multiple versions.

Maybe you downloaded an image to use in a report and you didn’t put it in the Recycle Bin – there are many examples of files we keep on our desktop that we’ve used once and forgotten about.

Organise Documents You Want to Keep and Remove Them from Your Desktop

For those documents you do want to keep, now’s the chance to put them into folders where you can find them again.

Though this sorting may take a bit of time to organise, you’ll find your documents much easier in places that make sense.

Why not put all of your finance related document into a ‘Finance’ folder with subfolders for each year? Put your projects into separate folders organised by client and by date.

Moving files to the cloud are another option for files you want to access files on other devices.

Uninstall Old Software You No Longer Use

If some of those icons on your desktop are for programmes you no longer use, then you should uninstall the programme from the Applications or Apps menus in Settings.

You can also remove shortcuts for programmes if you’re happy to use the apps menus on the task bar.

This guide from Business Insider goes into detail about how you can do this on PCs or Macs.

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Other Things You Can Do to Keep Your Computer in Good Working Order

There are a number of other things you can do to help speed up your computer after you’ve decluttered your desktop.

These are standard housekeeping tasks you should do regularly, but it’s especially recommended after moving or deleting a lot of files:

  • Antivirus Definitions Update
  • Operating System Update Check
  • Save old videos or pictures to an external drive or to the cloud
  • Run disk defrag once all of the files you wish to move have been moved
  • Empty your downloads folder, or at least get rid of anything over 6 months old

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The Benefits of a Desktop Clean Up

 

Faster Processing

The more icons you have on your desktop, the slower your machine will run. This is because these programmes and files use up a lot of RAM. Hence, the fewer desktop shortcuts you have, the faster your computer will be.

More Disk Space

Having a sort out and getting rid of files and programmes you no longer need will free up more space on your hard drive.

It’s obvious, but in the case of laptops especially, space is at a premium.

Also, the less you have on your machine, the easier it is to find whatever it is you’re looking for.

A Clean Start

Use this opportunity to approach your file saving in a much more structured fashion. After a clean up and reorganise exercise like this, you’ll feel great.

With everything up-to-date, folders organised, and your desktop clear of messy shortcuts, it should feel like a brand-new machine.

Greater Productivity and Reduced Anxiety

The mental health benefits from taking the time to reorganise your virtual space are a great by-product. It will lift your mood and give you energy, which can improve your productivity cycle.

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In Conclusion

Though it may have started out as a gimmicky holiday in North America, there are some good reasons to observe National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day.

The benefits of this kind of housekeeping affect how you approach your work, as well as how fast your computer might run.

Also, you don’t have to wait until next year to keep your computer clutter-free and up-to-date.

Does your organisation promote National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day for its employees? Let us know in the comments.

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STEPHEN MCCORMICK

I'm the MSP Community Manager for Tubblog. A small business owner, technical writer and blogger, with 15 years experience in corporate IT. I frequently attend MSP peer groups and create content relevant to IT service providers and business owners.

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