Improving My Workflow

My Computer is my Life; gaming, editing, working, procrastinating it’s all done on either my desktop, laptop or phone. This means that when my technology is disorganised and messy so is my workflow.

I realised during my Diploma that with all the different projects i had running i was creating a dump of my hard-drives. Yes, I was one of those people that would download an image to ‘My Downloads’ folder and then import it straight to what I was working on.

I’m also one of those people that works best in a clean environment.

So it’s time to get on with some work, my rooms clean, my minds clear, but my desktop looks like a half completed game of minesweeper. How’s that not been distracting until now..?

…we should treat out desktops just as if it’s an extension of our desk; it is in the name after all.

So here are some tips to keep your computer clean and more organised.

Tip One – You can never have too many Folders!

Before most admin work was done online offices would have shelves-on-shelves of folders. This was the best way to categorise stuff…it’s no different on computers! Whether it’s a project in After Effects CC or just multiple Photo-shoots, having Labelled Folders within Folders is the best way to create that database. Everything’s located where it should be then meaning if somethings linked to a project it’s then always located in the same place.

Folders are also great for hiding files, for example in After Effects CC I often create multiple compositions within a single project file. To keep it organised if often make these key folders

  • Composition
    • Sub-Compositions
  • Source Files
    • Images
    • Videos
    • Sounds
  • Generated Layers
    • Solids
    • Texts

Putting the individual elements in their designated folder means my workflow is clean, when I’m not using a layer I can just hide the folder, then collapse it when it’s needed.

Tip Two – Simplistic Wallpapers

Sure I love my family but having photographs as a wallpaper is clutter. They’re busy and can often be distracting. Sticking to a wallpaper that is simplistic and quite monotone means any desktop files/shortcuts are easily seen and it actually makes you focus more on the windows you have open.

Pictures do however work great for Lock-screens, this is the screen a computer usually idles on when locked and is displayed when you’re not logged in.

Tip Three – Makes use of Pinning on Windows

With Macs you have the Dock, with windows you have the Start Bar and Task Bar.

Pinning is when you stick a folder, file or shortcut in place.

People on windows often tend to have loads of program shortcuts on their Desktop, this is the biggest corporate to clutter and can actually slow down you computer. Not only does the computer use it’s RAM memory to show those shortcuts but it also has to load them during the start-up of your computer.

As I do all my documentations on Google Drive the main things I heavily go between is the Adobe CC Suite, so I pinned the ones I regularly use to the task-bar.

I also hid Cortana (Windows Assistant) as I don’t use it.

Tip Four – Save your Settings

This applies to almost all software and operating systems.

Nothing is worse then organising a work-space in Photoshop CC. Customising your shortcuts, hotkeys and mouse movements to then jump on another device and nothing happen when your try to use the commands is frustrating especially when switching between Macs and PCs.

Adobe CC Suite allows you to save work-spaces. So once you’ve created your perfect work-space, save it!

Same with windows, sync your settings to your account so if you jump to a Laptop or other device, all your cursor, wallpaper and settings jump over as well.

My experience from these Tips…

As a PC enthusiast when I turned up at University to see Apple Macs everywhere I was distraught, while I predominantly will use my laptop (because it’s much more powerful) I know that if I need to quickly jump on a device or if I forget my Laptop I can now work fine, I wont have the struggle of not knowing where anything is or how to use it as my Adobe CC Suite work-spaces are saved to the cloud.

As I sit editing on Photoshop this is what I now see…

My project files are organised. My work-space is how I like it. My desktop wallpaper isn’t distracting and if I need to open anything it’s all either on my task-bar on in my start menu.

This helped me with my workflow as I’m not now wasting time getting comfortable or finding things…but you may be different. Find out what makes you feel comfortable as less mess means less stress; leaving more brain power to be productive!

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