In the past year, have you stopped to organise, reset and clarify your digital workspace? For many of us, our computers, laptops and Zoom home screens have become our primary workspaces but it can be incredibly powerful to make sure that these are working for you in a productive manner.
If you’re like me, you look for an efficient solution and workflow. This means thinking about saving time even by 1% because that compounds over time and helps you to do things quicker, feel more organised and avoid any distractions. Often, our desktops and folders can be cluttered with old files, half-done iterations and bizarrely named documents we don’t dare open.
Maintaining an organised digital workspace might seem like a non-essential, low-priority task but it can actually help you clarify your virtual environment. As an architecture student, this can help massively to keep your projects and modules on track. Implementing small habits can compound over time and lead to an efficient system in the future.
One habit I’ve implemented since investing in a new laptop is to find ways to adapt it to my workflow. This involves quarterly reviews and organisation hours so I can ensure that everything is running smoothly and things are in their proper places.
The 3 most impactful habits I can reccommend to people are the following:
Decluttering your software 🧺
Do you really need all 3 versions of Sketchup or the outdated version of Rhino you downloaded that one time but never ended up using?
Having gone through the process of re-downloading all my software onto a new laptop, it actually made me evaluate what I really need and what I use regularly. Decluttering your software is highly important for the well-being of your system and for focusing on building the skills within the software that really matters.
Another aesthetic idea I’ve implemented is to keep my desktop bare. No files and no software. Instead, I’m focusing on using the bottom toolbar or the Start menu to find and locate whichever program I need to use at that moment. This also prevents me from saving countless downloads and files onto the desktop – something we will get onto later on. I also like to change up the wallpapers and colours every once in a while just to give it a bit of a refresh and adjust to my mood.
Also, you may want to start being strict with which kinds of software you download if you’re worried about storage and allowing your computer to run at its best performance. If you try this out, be sure to tag us on Instagram or Twitter with your clean desktops!
Another organisation technique is to set aside some time every week or month, basically on a regular basis to do a very simple cleanup. This can involve the following:
- Clear your cache and browser history
- Delete everything from your downloads folder (and then recycling)
- Make sure your frequent files are organised
- Close those tabs 😉
One thing I’ve found that really gets me in a state of work and free of distractions is to have my opening Chrome tabs be my digital hub. Notably, this consists of my Notion dashboard and Todoist Inbox. These aren’t just tabs I like seeing first and then forgetting about, they are my most-used pages as I am either working in Notion (taking notes, planning, scheduling) or ticking off tasks in Todoist.
If you can utilise this automatic feature to show you the scaffolding for your efficient workflow, you will be less inclined to immediately open up YouTube or Reddit. (That can come later.) Similarly, bookmarks work in a really interesting way. You might feel like it’s incredibly important to keep frequently visited pages on your bookmarks bar but you don’t need to. If you type in the first two letters of a frequent webpage, it will most likely be the first search suggestion, thus eliminating the need for the bookmark.
Instead, try and keep the bookmarks as pages that will help you in the long run. For example, a Resource Library that you can access easily and will be valuable for you is far better than bookmarking a website you used once and then never looked back on.
I’ve recently been saving and archiving web pages of interest to my Notion workspace so that I can actively take notes and utilise the information and content I am consuming. Having Notion on hand, open all the time just makes things that 1% quicker and efficient.
Another ‘fear’ we often have sometimes is to commit to bookmarking pages, in the fear of going overboard – which can happen but with a review system, you will be able to curate the list to your liking. I would recommend making a few folders and saving web pages you come across that might not be useful at this very moment but could be extremely valuable in the future.
File Management System 📂
A file management system is something I’d highly recommend for your digital workspace. The sooner you can create this, the faster and quicker you can get things done and find files easier. As a content creator, I’ve found that having this system makes things a lot easier than trying to find random JPEGs and Instagram posts in your downloads folder. For architecture students, this is probably a great keystone habit to start working on as it will probably be similar to how a central system works in practice.
To make things easier for you, I’ve created a flexible system with structured files within files within files. This is a tried and tested system that is very similar to a central system that many businesses and organisations use. All you have to do is download the Desktop Zero template and start organising your files as soon as possible.
In practice, files, drawings and correspondence absolutely need to be organised mostly so that the rest of the team can also access and work together by using a central system in their digital workspace. This keeps everyone on the same page and means that there is always a place for something.
Implementing these 3 tips can be game-changing because they are the first steps towards an organised environment and workspace. Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these!