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Get Things Done! 5 Ideas To Make The Best Productive Use Of Your Desktop

Tina Sieber 02-07-2013

The Windows 8 Modern UI (aka Metro) taught us one thing: people love their desktops!


Whether you’re on a Mac, Windows or Linux computer, the desktop is an open space that isn’t pre-defined by a rigid structure. Unlike the interfaces of mobile devices or Windows 8’s Modern interface, it gives room to randomness, creativity, and individuality. This of course results in messy desktops more often than not.

We have previously demonstrated what you can do to clean up your Windows desktop How to Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once and For All Do you look at your Windows desktop and wonder how to clean it up? Here are some decluttering tips that can make you productive. Read More , how to create a minimalist desktop 7 Simple Steps to an Awesome Minimalist Desktop Read More , and which wallpaper changers Spice Up Your Desktop With These 3 Excellent Wallpaper Changers [Windows] A beautiful desktop is a matter of aesthetics. Some people care, others don't. If you are the kind who appreciates clean and organized spaces, then I'm sure your desktop isn't cluttered with icons. While a... Read More will spice up your desktop. Here I present a selection of wallpapers to go with a lean and productive desktop.

Section Your Productive Desktop

Maybe you are not a big fan of minimalism, but simply prefer to have shortcuts and store documents where you can access them most easily — on your desktop. Here is how you can keep doing that, while at the same time organizing the random mess.

Idea: Use a wallpaper to create sections on your desktop.

Purpose: Organize your desktop and turn it into a useful and visually pleasing toolbox.



You can download an existing wallpaper, like the one from Market Wallpapers below. You will find similar wallpapers using the search term productivity. You can also create your own wallpaper with categories that meet your needs.

productive desktop

Freelance designer Mac Funamizu suggests placing only the most important and imminent files and folders on your desktop. He provides a wallpaper grid where the top right holds the most urgent and the bottom left is associated with low priority items.


productive desktop environment

David Fisco created a wallpaper with eight sections. An inbox for unprocessed icons on the left and the following categories towards its right: To Be Delegated, Waiting On, Calendar & Next Actions, Read/Watch/Listen, Icons to be filed, and finally System Icons.

productive desktop environment

Load Instructions Onto Your Desktop

At some point, everyone suffers from procrastination Cut Through Procrastination With These Pomodoro Technique Apps & Software Procrastination is a malady that pervades students and workers in all corners of the world and it infects amateurs and professionals alike. As a writer, I suffer from procrastination on a daily basis. Some people... Read More , i.e. not doing what you are supposed to do now. Social networks like Facebook Deal With Facebook Procrastination With These Tools And Tips This article is here to help us deal with Facebook procrastination. There are tools and techniques you can use to limit your time on Facebook, but the root of the issue is your behavior. I... Read More , YouTube, or games are the most common time sinks and causes for procrastination Why Procrastination Can't Be Cured By Task Management Apps [Opinion] For the longest time I’ve struggled with time management, and in some aspects I still do. One of my many methods in “overcoming” my lack of time management was to use task management applications. I... Read More while you’re on the computer. Maybe your wallpaper can help a little.


Idea: Place tools and advice for fighting procrastination 6 Tips Prevent Internet Procrastination I am a master of procrastination. Perhaps you are too. There are millions of people who suffer from crippling procrastination and it’s a real drain on productivity and efficiency. The weird thing is, many of... Read More and distractions right onto your desktop.

Purpose: Help you stay on track with your work.


Alex Vermeer created a Guide for Defeating Procrastination, which you can download as a productive desktop wallpaper.


How To Get Motivated

The Girl Who Was Plugged iN customized an image she discovered online to create a wallpaper with rules for a creative life. It serves as a wonderful reminder of what you should be doing, rather than to procrastinate.

productive desktop environment

The folks at MindMapArt created a Procrastination Buster Mind Map, which works great as a helpful wallpaper.

Procrastination Buster

Is clearing your inbox your great challenge? Try the GTD Flow from ZenDone.

desktop productivity

A great >GTD Workflow wallpaper for getting projects done can be found on Market Wallpapers. Unfortunately, the original source ( no longer provides the image.

desktop productivity

Let Your Desktop Motivate You

Most of us instinctively know what we need to do. What we really need is a reminder of why we are working so hard. What is our dream? What is it that keeps us going? What matters in life?

Idea: Prep your desktop with motivational messages.

Purpose: Give yourself an encouraging nudge in the right direction and remind yourself of your dreams.


Always remember that you are the creator of your own destiny and…

desktop productivity

…you are doing to succeed because…

productive desktop

…life is the sum of what you focus on and…

productive desktop

…obviously you are trying hard to focus on the right things!

Make Your Desktop A Relaxing Space

Some people don’t need all those supportive techniques and reminders because they are working too hard already. The workaholics among you should turn their desktop into a serene space, one that will help them relax for a brief moment, whenever they happen to come across it.

Idea: Use the desktop as a reminder to do the things you forget in between all your work.

Purpose: Take a break, calm down, relax.


This Beach wallpaper is a great reminder to take a break and enjoy the outdoors Spending Too Much Time On The Computer? 5 Ways To Bring Nature To Your Desktop If you are tied to your desk or lack the natural draw to be outside, give nature a chance to brighten your day. She can help you relax as you experience her wonderfulness through the... Read More .

more productive desktop

Meditate is one of several simplified wallpapers from MinimalWall.

more productive desktop

Nothing helps us to relax as well as the view of nature. Imagine the sound of water, the wind brushing across your skin, and the smell of grass.

productive desktop

Non Wallpaper Desktop Organizing

Do you love the idea of an organized desktop, but are not quite sold on the idea of using a wallpaper to do it? I hear you!

Idea: Organize your desktop icons, but keep the wallpaper as is.

Purpose: An organized desktop with your favorite wallpaper/s in the background.

Recommended tool: If you’re happy with your current wallpaper and want to benefit from some automated structure, check out Fences. Fences is a Windows application that helps you efficiently manage your desktop icons Turn Your Windows Desktop From Cluttered To Useful For Free With Fences I'd like to start this post with a small request: Hit Win+D for me. I'll wait here. Go ahead, do it. Okay, done? What did you see? Was it a hot mess of cluttered icons... Read More by categories.

productive desktop


Your desktop isn’t wasted space. The cluttered mess can be turned into something wonderfully useful. whether you need a virtual kick in the butt, some guiding, or time to relax, your desktop can be a cue for many things.

How do you use your desktop and what is your favorite wallpaper? Please share and allow us to learn something new!

Image credit: Desktop Display via Shutterstock

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  1. freehdwallpapers
    December 17, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Amazing creation fo your blog extremely good work href="">hd wallpapers Can b The Latest Attractive...... for your computer background... :)

  2. alex
    December 16, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Nice artivle. Wide choice of wallpaers is here

  3. Alexander
    December 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    You can choose any resolution and wallpapers themselves will like you need to try: (button "resolution")

  4. Neha
    July 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Personally, I like Rainmeter - especially some of the skins that you can download (such as Enigma or Encoded - DeviantArt) and although it does take some getting used to I feel it's functional and looks nice too.

  5. Ellen O
    July 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I love Fences. I actually got it as a free download one day and it is SO useful. My desktop is organized so that all the applications are in one fence, games in another, key shortcuts are together, and so on. I also have a fence for current important projects so I can find everything I'm working on right now very easily.

    I also like the way I can hide all the icons and just see my wallpaper. This reduces the temptation to play a game or really do anything except work on whatever project I currently have open (I've got multiple monitors so even if a document is open on one, I'm still vulnerable to temptation from icons on another monitor!)

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience with Fences, Ellen! Hiding desktop icons is a great productivity tip, too.

  6. Fares Younis
    July 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you , that was really helpful.
    Wish you all the best,please send me when something new coming ^_^

    Best regards.

  7. Furqana F
    July 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I used to divide things based on their functionality on my desktop, but I guess an inspirational or relaxing wallpaper suits me better.

    • Sylvia L
      July 9, 2013 at 2:50 am

      I agree, I use Mandalas, my current one is a Mandala for Abundance, I will sometimes just look into the centre of it in between things, & think positive thoughts!
      Sylv x

  8. derek
    July 4, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Don't use fences .... just don't keep icons on your desktop. At most keep the ones you *really* have to in the lower right corner, which is the least noticable part of your screen.

  9. Yashodhan B
    July 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

    @Tina, Awesome post... It would definitely help me to kill right away the procrastinator in me..Thanks !!

  10. PhĂșc N
    July 3, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Oh please, Tina! I want more :( They're so beautiful and inspiring!

  11. Stephan Huebner
    July 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    I don't really see how the different sections on the desktop should help, tbh. I think the problem is not having categories but to decide what goes where and then react properly. That would necessitate a lot more than a few categories that over time will fill up with stuff just like any other folder on the HD, in a ToDo-List, Email-client etc... :/

  12. Tanim I
    July 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Instead of using wallpapers, just use Fences, which is pretty good at what it does

    • Fares Younis
      July 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Relaxing wallpapers with Fences would be nice, isn't it ?

    • Daniel
      July 13, 2013 at 4:11 am

      The best things of fences is that a double click on the desktop will hide the icons. Can't live without i!

  13. Sebastian
    July 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    A really useful thing with fences is to name one, fill it with however many icons you want and then you can resize the fence as small as you want, even 1 icon large so you can just scroll through them.