Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Day 1: Organize Your Physical Desktop


We begin with what is right in front of you every day: your genealogical desk. Whatever you use to do most of your research, you face it when you start. That working surface can become so cluttered that it makes work difficult.

Only the essentials should have a regular home on your physical desktop. If there is enough room, you'll want at least two large computer displays (one for your genealogy software, the other for the browser to display records). If you have enough room for three displays, go for it!

In front of that will be your keyboard and mouse, perhaps on a favorite mousepad. My own are wireless, so I don't have wires taking up any room. To each side of the displays I have computer speakers. Underneath and between the displays is a tray for my phone, my one pen, and my reading glasses. (In my book Organize Your Genealogy, I advised readers to keep only a single pen on the desktop so as not to waste time choosing which pen to use when needed. At RootsTech London, someone approached me and asked if it was really true that I keep only one pen on my desk. I was able to affirm that I really do this!)

The only other items on my desk, also underneath the displays, are a USB hub (making it quick and easy to charge my wireless mouse), and an Ohio Genealogical Society 60th anniversary drink coaster.

This leaves plenty of room on the desk to temporarily put working documents as I need them. But they don't stay there.

What do you have on your physical desktop? If you aren't using it each and every day, can it be moved elsewhere, out of your way? You want to avoid distractions. Move those distracting items to a side table (out of line of sight) or into a side drawer or cabinet.

7 comments:

  1. I am the same way. My desktop must be clutter free or I can’t work. It may get filled while I’m on a particular project, but each evening it is cleared. I was the same way when I worked. Clutter around me makes my mind not clear.

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  2. You absolutely inspired me!! My desk was a horrible mess. Now - after organizing and filing, my desk looks very close to yours and what I need is accessible, and everything else has a place and is in it! What a GREAT New Year's Day!! Happy New Year!! and Thank you!!

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  3. I appreciate the inspiration to minimize and de-clutter. I’m on it.

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  4. Under ideal circumstances, I see only my two suspended monitor, a pencil cup (I keep them corraled at least), a copy stand, my stapler, my triple-timer (because I get distracted and miss appointments or phone calls without it), and my 4 x 6" spiral to-do notebook. Unfortunately, circumstances are rarely ideal.

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  5. I also have a three-hole punch for those printouts I want to save. I expect you are more tech-savvy than I, but how to you save ideas for follow-ups, and new leads w/o a notepad, so that you don't get distracted with a rabbit hole at the time of an epiphany? Thank you for your inspiration!

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  6. Sorry u lost me at'1pen'. I glanced at my desk and saw 2full cups organized by color and function but still 2 cups, 21 pens plus 1 pen tray with 7 pens in....on the rest I'm IN..carry on.

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  7. Oh if only! I cannot work in clutter. However, I share a desk with my husband who seem to think that if there is so much as a square inch of clear space on any desk, table or bench top he must fill it with cr@p.

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