Streamlining

In general, I’m curious about how people prefer to organize and do things.  How people use their computers is a small black hole. While there’s a certain framework imposed by your computer’s software, how you arrange your computer experience is up to you.

Everyone who uses a computer a lot must have their own system of getting around on their computer and retrieving information. Since surfing with your computer is a solitary pursuit, people usually aren’t aware of how others organize their experience. Some people probably don’t care so there’re items all over the place, like a messy room but they know where everything is. And other people streamline their layouts.  I’m not sure how you do it, but this is how I do it and it seems to work well for me.

I’m prefer a simple and easy system. On my desktop, for example, I only have two icons, one for my hard drive and one for photos.  I don’t use rss feeds or other notifications when there’s fresh content; instead I prefer checking in on sites I like, confident (based on experience with each site) that there’ll be new content available.

Every few weeks I’ll delete any sites I don’t want to follow, sort of like scraping the barnacles from the hull. I try to keep the number of sites in the first four categories at a manageable 15 or so. If I don’t cull underused sites from my categories, my computer experience  gets to the point of feeling that you need to keep up with all of the sites you have bookmarked. Under “Bookmarks,” I use groupings of sites based on how often I check in on those sites.

There are lots of different titled folders, From BANKING to WEATHER, under the bookmarks heading but they’re not often needed or visited. I find myself mostly visiting the first four bookmark titles on my computer. Here’re the titles and description along with a few examples of sites:

FREQUENT – these are sites I visit at least once a day: my email, stockercary.com, NYT, a surf report, Seth Godin, ….

OCCASIONAL – for sites that I check once a week usually: Dan Savage’s podcast, Leo                            Babauta’s, Colossal, Doug McGuff, …

IN THE WINGS – Basically a waiting room for sites I run across and think I might like. This category is added to and subtracted from constantly.

REFERENCE – A general category containing sites I might look at once or twice a month: the Selby, TED talks, Capoeira sites, …

That’s it in a nutshell. Streamlining and editing what’s on my computer is what I’ve found makes my computer more enjoyable to use.