As I walked around the office this morning I was struck by a colleague’s desktop on their PC. It was absolutely full of file icons, completely covered. I’ve seen this phenomena before but never to such an extreme. I found myself recoiling at what I saw as a complete and utter mess. You may have guessed by my tone that I’m not a desktop scatterer.
My desktop has 16 icons on it; all of them from applications that have decided that I need a desktop icon. Sometimes I delete them, but many will make their way back at a later date normally after an update. All of my files are in folders in a hierarchical structure; I am a bit of a folder fanatic.
There are other people who can never find anything, they seem to have an approach of dropping files into all sorts of places in the hope that they can find them later. There are times when the disorganised side of my personality turns me into file dropper also.
I’ve never really understood the desktop scatterer, I suspect that scatterer is a bit derogatory and the desktop is highly optimised to the way that they work. I understand the file dropper a bit, sometimes you just want to get on with things without having to think about organising what you are doing. Occasionally my folder fanaticism gets out of control and I put files within folders, within folder, within folders, within folders and can’t find anything.
The joy of being a folder fanatic or a file dropper is that there are now so many places to create folders and drop files available: local disks, usb drives, network drives, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, SharePoint, Wiki, email, Box, ShareFile, etc.
We all think and work differently and there are (believe it or not) advantages and disadvantages to each of these approaches.
File structures and systems are going to be around for some time because they are so flexible and enable us to optimise how we work. Perhaps it’s time, though, that we started helping each other to be as productive as possible in their use, what works for you?