We are living in front of our computers for more hours than we’d like to admit, yet, when was the last time you really paid close attention to your desktop?
Don’t look the other way. I’m talking to you my friend.
Neglect. Denial. It’s happening. I can feel it with my mind reading superpowers.
Let’s diagnose. Nod every time one of these statements sounds oddly familiar:
- You download stuff off the web + save it somewhere. Anywhere of your computer.
- You install programs + apps left n’ right with the promise that maaaaaybe one day you’ll need them. In case of a zombie Apocalypse, right?
- You drag photos from your camera roll called “IM0567” + “IM0568” + “IM0569”, never rename them and swear you’ll know where to find them later.
- Your work folder looks something like this: “Design 1” + “The Design” + “Final Design” + “Design Last Draft” + “Approved Design” + “No Really This is The FINAL One” + “Sorry, This Time is For Real”.
- You love buying fonts. More fonts. One can never have too many fonts.
- And then you get more fonts because you’re not a quitter.
- You’re serious about collecting printables. It’s not a hobby. It’s a serious sport. And you’re an Olympian athlete.
Should I keep going?
Didn’t think so.
Okay, so the result of these behaviors is a desktop flooded with icons (most of which you don’t even know what they’re for) + folders (you can only suspect what’s hidden inside) + files (with hieroglyphic names not even Dan Brown from Da Vinci Code can crack).
No wonder you’re feeling so busy busy buuuusy. No wonder you don’t have time to exercise. No wonder you can’t make Pomodoro Sauce from scratch. No wonder you didn’t get around to writing this week’s blog post. No freaking wonder. Of course! You’re still searching for that doc.
Our desktops have become the modern Bermuda Triangle. The abandoned drawer of the digital age if you will. Leash the Kraken for God’s sake!
Today I’m gonna help you get rid of desktop shame in 7 easy steps. Warm up your decluttering muscles. Put on your stretchy pants. Brew some chamomile tea. It’s time!
STEP 1: HIDE WHAT YOU DON’T USE DAILY
Now please tuck away the avalanche of worthless icons you hardly ever use. Remover them from sight. RIGHT NOW.
Do you even know what that application is for? Yeah, I though so. Let it go!
I know you don’t play Chess. Let it go!
Unless you’re Farideh Ceaser (my super talented friend who did my Life is Messy Kitchen jingle) then you probably shouldn’t have GarageBand on your dashboard. Just saying. Let it go!
I don’t care if you’re making a living online. I don’t care if your computer is your lifeline. That’s not an excuse to treat your desktop like a dumpster.
The ultimate goal is to keep your main desktop view squeaky clean.
Think minimalism. Think freedom.
Delete from the main dock all icons you don’t use on a daily basis. Simple. Revolutionary.
Also, make sure that whenever you install a new application, you uncheck the option to create a shortcut on your desktop. Programs can be accessed through other means. There’s absolutely no need for them to all be in your line of vision + clutter up your desktop with visual noise.
STEP 2: CREATE CATEGORIES TO ORGANIZE EVERYTHING
First, you need to decide how you want to group your digital collection of stuff. Consider the right taxonomy by brainstorming category options. Do you want to split your personal files from your work documents? Then create two folders + label one “Personal” + the other “Work”.
For me, my work is an extension of my personal life, so I group things a little differently. I like to categorize my desktop by projects – “Heartmade” + “Mayi Carles Shop” + “Life is Messy” + “Life Blends” + “Olivia” + so on.
Then, I go a little crazy with the sub-folders. For example, my “Life is Messy” folder hosts my “Life is Messy Bootcamp” + “Life is Messy Planners” + “Life is Messy Kitchen” + “Life is Messy Rainboots” sub-folders. Some of these even have baby folders inside of them, such as “Design” + “Contracts” + “Photos” + “Testimonials” + “Videos” to keep things in place. Get the picture?
Your turn. Take a look at your stuff. What’s the best way to categorize it? Create folders for each category, keeping in mind you can always create sub-folders inside master papa bear folders.
You might already have a filing system in place. Bravo! Just need to decide:
- Which should stay?
- Which should die (a minute of silence)?
- How many new ones you need?
- Which really belong inside another folder?
Now, I know this is time consuming, but it will save you soooooo much time in the long run. Trust me. Imagine finally being able to find exactly what you’re looking for quicker than Flash? Amen!
STEP 3: SORT
Now comes the super fun part. I’ve been waiting all my life for this. Place your files into the categories you created (sarcasm alert). Can you feel my enthusiasm?
So while you’re putting yourself through this necessary misery, you might as well take this opportunity to toss out files that are out of date + you no longer need.
STEP 4: LABEL IT RIGHT
While you’re sorting away + quite possible cursing my name, it helps to rename files as you go. Let me give you some examples:
- Photos can be renamed according to date (year/month/day).
- Files within folders can be given new names according to how they related to the whole group.
- Quotes can be titled by quote number + client name (Quote 134 – Luna Garcia).
- Design studio files can be labeled “Draft 1” + “Draft 2” + “Final.”
Why is this important? Well, because no file system in the galaxy can survive a messy archiver. Take the extra five seconds to label your files appropriately upon creation to avoid Easter Egg hunts in the future.
Now, having said that, I understand many of us have months, if not years, of unidentified objects living inside our computers. Creepy. This is the time to do some major house-elf cleaning. Work in 15 minute intervals or sections. For example, on Monday do your “Music” folder, on Tuesday do you “Downloads” folder + on Wednesday do your “Documents” folder + so on.
And you better give yourself a treat when you’re done. This is the equivalent to landing on the moon. You deserve an Oreo Madness at the finish line.
STEP 5: TAKE OUT THE TRASH
As you cruise along, drag to the trash bucket anything you no longer use. And get in the habit of periodically clicking the “Empty” button + see how your computer goes from medieval turtle to turbo.
STEP 6: BACK-UP
Make a back up of all your folders in an external hardware device. That’s an order. Unless you want to lose half of your honeymoon pics like I did.
Tip: I use Time Machine to back up my things. I also upload my most important files to Dropbox + iCloud cuz one can never be too careful.
STEP 7: DOWNLOAD A COOL DESKTOP WALLPAPER
When you’re done cleaning + organizing your desktop, it’s important to make sure that things never go back to the way they were before. If you search for “Desktop Wallpapers” on Pinterest, you will find many fun solutions to keep your desktop tidy + inspiring.
Or you can download this one I’ve designed just for desktop decluttering ninja warriors, are you one?
I promise that if you give these steps a try, you’ll notice a big difference in your productivity.
And don’t forget to take a before/after screenshots. I love seen those.
As always, if you have magic spells of your own to make decluttering your desktop easier, please do spill the jelly beans in the comments below.
A clean desktop is a happy desktop. Happy organizing my friend!
And remember, your desktop is not the Kraken. Give it some love so it loves you back.
From the messy desk of,
Calling all my multi-passionate friends!!!
You know who you are.
When asked at a cocktail party/conference/networking event/wedding what you do for a living, you kinda choke. A little. Don’t you?
You struggle to write an Instagram bio. Your Twitter bio. Your bio bio.
You find it hard to focus on just ONE thing. Feels like you’re firing all your other genius ideas. Not fair. Right?
You get very anxious when asked to fill in the blanks this very short + simple question: Occupation: ____________. You’re gonna need an entire journal to answer that one.
You’re still not sure what do you want to be when you grow up. And you’re, like, already a grown up.
If this is you, GET READY. This is for you!
Introducing the Multi-Passionate Must-Haves, a collection of 14 products + courses + audios + resources created by and for multi-passionates, worth $1599 but for the next 72 hours it can be yours for only $97. That’s a 94% discount if you’re doing the math. It’s pretty amazing.
When Is This Happening?
The sale will run from Tuesday, May 17 at 12:01am PDT for 72 consecutive hours. It ends on Thursday, May 19 at 11:59pm PDT. Here’s a timezone converter, if you’d like to double check those times in your timezone.
The 14 products in this year’s bundle were carefully handpicked by love by Michelle + Emilie to address three main areas:
- Your work.
- Your creativity.
- The fear that can keep you from both.
Here’s what’s included in this year’s glorious bundle:
- Figure Out What Fits by Scott Anthony Barlow ($397 value)
- Branding Basics for the Highly-Creative Person by Tiffany Han ($97 value)
- 78 Cards, All of the Things: Tarot for Multipods, Projects & Planning by Beth Maiden ($29 value – EXCLUSIVE)
- Renaissance Business: Make Your Multipotentiality Your Day Job, 2nd Ed. by Emilie Wapnick ($49 value)
- Artist Websites that Sell by Cory Huff ($47 value)
- Best of Productivity & Team + Best of Artists & Makers by Jennifer Lee ($274 value)
- An Effective Escape by Michelle Ward ($57 value – EXCLUSIVE)
- The Freelancer Planner by Michelle Nickolaisen ($15 value)
- The Good to Know Project, Issues #6-10 (which cover: envy/jealousy, plagiarism, seeking help as an artist, rituals and routines, fear, and holding down multiple jobs) by Amy Ng ($16 value)
- How to Clone Yourself by Amber McCue ($149 value)
- Jump Start Your Podcast by Paula Jenkins ($37 value)
- Life is Messy Planners® 2016 Edition, by Mayi Carles ($40 value)
- The Niche Master Class by Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden ($194 value)
- The Ultimate Recharge and Renew Kit for Your Creative Life by Jen Louden ($198 value)
And Here’s The Best Part
Ten dollars from each sale will be donated to Michelle Ward’s team for the Avon 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk in NY. Michelle was diagnosed with Stage One breast cancer in November 2011 and Stage Three breast cancer in September 2015. This will be the 5th year she’ll be walking 39.3 miles with Avon over 2 days with her mother and best friends.
So as it turns out not only is this sale good for you, and your wallet, but it’s actually good for the world.
Catch My Jam
I had the most fun chat with Miss Multi Potentialite herself, Emilie Wapnick to talk about being super curious + not wanting to pick just ONE super power. Click play to catch our mini interview!
Psst… A Lil’ Extra Somethin’ Somethin’
You might have also guessed that if you decide to invest in this Multi-Passionate Must-Haves flash sale through my affiliate link, I receive a generous commission. It’s true. Yes, the money is a super nice perk, but (a) I’d never send you to something I don’t stand behind fully; (b) I’m proud + honored to be among so many incredible authors, and I know that this bundle will knock your socks off; (c) It’s also the reason why I’m able to offer an extra high value bonus you can’t find anywhere else.
That’s right! Everyone who purchases this bundle through my affiliate link, will ALSO receive a copy of my book 5K Sales in 365 Days: A Quirky + Practical Guide to Creating Best Selling Digital Products in Your Pajamas, valued at $97. But you get is for FREE. No additional charge.
This guide is not for sale anywhere else, nowhere, but I’m bringing it back for this short window of time. A little cherry on top of this resource sunday. A way to say THANK YOU for supporting us. For backing this do good initiative. For investing in YOU + all your many many maaany (did I emphasize many enough?) passions.
Now, listen closely, this is muy importante, you have to purchase the Multi-Passionate Must-Have bundle through my link (you will see it here the second the sale goes live) in order to receive my bonus guide 5K Sales in 365 Days. If you accidentally click a link on Twitter or Facebook or someone else’s blog post, you’ll show up as their referral–not mine.
It’s as easy as 1… 2… 3…
- Purchase the bundle through my link.
- Forward your receipt to email@example.com.
- Hold on tight, your 5K Sales in 365 Days will arrive shortly.
Remember, the sale only lasts 72 hours and it won’t be offered again, so be sure to mark your calendar so you don’t miss it.
Shot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to get back to you in a Speedy Gonzalez fashion.
Your pal + fellow multi-potentialite,
PS: If you don’t know what it means to be multi-passionate, or are unsure if you are one, you gotta check out this TED Talk right here. It’s a must watch!
I believe altitude is determined by attitude. Believe that you can, indeed you will. Believe that you can’t, in fact everything will stand in your way.
In the words of Mary Kay Ash: “Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it so it goes on flying anyway.”
What would happen if you started believing you could. If you began having a little bit more faith in you? If instead of protecting yourself, you walked with your hands wide open, expecting miracles? If you chose courage over fear? For a change. What do you think would happen?
Here’s to an audaciously optimistic life ahead superstar!
Girls are mean.
Okay, more like a lot of times.
When someone is mean, I get this sudden urge to release glitter into the sky above their head + watch it shower over them like a baptism of kindness.
When someone is mean, I’m also teletransported back to Art School.
Art School was brutal you guys.
My Master’s program at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago only accepted 8 graduates per year. It was a very competitive program. And there was this super mean girl. I won’t say who she is. I’ll just say this: Her name begins with “J” + ends with “ulia”.
When I think about the zombie Apocalypse, I think about her.
When I’m feeling inadequate + untalented, I think about her.
When I suck at something? You bet… JULIA! JULIA! JULIA! Her condescending Dolores Umbridge-like voice pops in my head. It’s terrifying. TE-RRI-FYING.
So that brings me here.
It’s time. It’s time to end this mean girl epidemic, ya know? Kill these dementors once in for all. By the way, my patronus charm is a unicorn. Ahem, ahem, just thought you should know.
Alright so… what do we know so far? That girls are mean. But! Girls can totally be so kind if we had a little bit more faith in each other. Right? Deep down in my T-Rex heart I truly believe that. And I know you do too.
Imagine a world where girls aren’t passive aggressive with each other. Where girls don’t bully each other… call each other fat or ugly or whatever. Where girls don’t tear each other down.
Imagine a world where we all play nice. Where success is measured in selfless acts. Where kindness is queen. Where lifting each other up is the philosophy of life. Where we actively + aggressively believe in each other + praise each other + defend each other + think the other deserves the world.
That’s the world I want to live in. That’s the world I want to help co-create. With you!
The ripple effect starts with one. One person to hold open a door. One person to leave a note on someone’s car complimenting their awesome parking skills. One person to write a thank you letter to a teacher. One person to be a spark of kindness when another really needs it.
Here’s 40 ways to be that person:
- Bring your co-workers a special treat.
- Write a poem to someone special.
- Give pretty flowers.
- Help fund a Kickstarter project.
- Leave a generous tip.
- Plant a tree.
- Introduce two people who should meet.
- Call your mom.
- Gift a book you have read + enjoyed for someone else.
- Don’t gossip.
- Send a gift card.
- Surprise someone with balloons.
- Do the dishes.
- Make pancakes (extra bonus for bringing them to bed).
- Give a bear hug.
- Really spend time with someone without your smartphone.
- Thank the police for doing their job.
- Treat someone to fresh fruit.
- Organize a lunch date with da’ girls.
- Leave sticky notes with inspirational messages.
- Arrive on time.
- Buy dessert for someone else.
- Donate _____ you no longer use.
- Make a new friend today.
- Mail someone a hand-written letter.
- Lend a hand to a gal pal.
- Listen to a friend’s problem without trying to fix her.
- Send a thank you note to a blogger you inspires you.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Book a mani + pedi date with yourself.
- Call someone on their birthday, don’t just congratulate them on Facebook.
- Bring wine to your next dinner party.
- Help a friend think bigger with words of encouragement + pom poms.
- Pay the toll for the person behind you.
- Greet people with name tags by their name.
- Invite others to join a conversation.
- Write a letter to someone who made a difference in you life.
- Help change a tire.
- Leave quarters at a candy machine.
- Add yours here: ___________.
I challenge you to be that person.
Use the hashtags #BringingKindnessBack #KindActivist to document this much needed revolution.
How we make others (especially other girls) feel about themselves, says a lot about us, our femininity, our sisterly superpowers, our womanhood.
If you think a girl is pretty… pretty smart… pretty strong… pretty funny, for God’s sake tell her. Say so. “Dang girl love your shoes.” “My gosh your skin is glowing.” “I see what you’re doing + you are rocking it.” Do it! Because you will probably make her really reeeeally happy for like 21 days.
You know who else will be happy for like forever? You! It’s true, the best way to make ourselves happy is to make other people happy. Works. Try it!
This is our mission. This is why we are here. To leave the world a little bit better than we found it. What else could it be? This is it!
Do good. Feel A-MA-ZING!
Do you remember the last time you felt a happiness boost just for being generous + providing support + giving presents or contributing to make the world a little bit better? Share your story in the comments bellow to help inspire more and more and more random acts of kindness.
Here is to kind girls everywhere. May we be them. May we inspire them. May we raise them.
Mean girls, take note or STICK IT!!! Life is way too short to condensed. Share stories that inspire other than gossip to trash. Pull up other than push out. Plant other than pain. Give other than suck the living life outta people. The world really doesn’t need your bitchin’.
Which reminds me…
Oh Julia! Julia who made me cry every single day after Visual Critical Studies: Creative Criticism class. Julia who really took the “criticism” part to heart. Julia who was so busy hating on people that she forgot to live. To be radically happy. To matter. Apparently. At least according to Google. She’s not even in the first 5 pages #karmaisabitch.
Oh Julia! My arch-nemesis. The PC to my Apple. The Darth Vader to my Obi Wan. The Magneto to my Professor Xavier. THANK YOU for being so hard on me that you made me want to be kinder that much badder.
We all have a Julia in our lives, don’t we? I know you’re thinking of her name right now.
By the way, to all other Julias in the galaxy, please forgive me. I promise it’s only this ONE Julia I don’t like. I don’t think y’all are trolls, or anything. Pinky promise. What? Of course you’re invited to my pajama party. So are you Julia Roberts.
These are my final words of wisdom:
Dear Girlfriend (yes, YOU reading this),
Should you ever find yourself the victim of other peoples bitterness + smallness + insecurities, remember things could be worse. You could be THEM!
And with that out of my chest I say, Let’s bring kindness back ladies! Cuz we can.
Don’t forget to use the hashtags #BringingKindnessBack #KindActivist to track our quest + find each other.
From the messy desk of,
*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.
This is a very special post. But! Before diving in, I really think you will dig the back story.
Let’s rewind to 2011 for just a second.
I was drinking spa water + wearing stretchy pants + listening to my girl April Bowles-Olin’s interview on BlogcastFM. And I remember thinking to myself, “Damn, my friend is wicked smart. How does she do it?”
“How does she do what?”, you may be asking.
“How does she NAIL IT every freaking time?”, I mean.
We all have that perfect friend + colleague + sister + relative. That person in our lives who seems to have it all figured out.
It’s tempting to stay there. In admiration land. Just gazing in utter awe from the sidelines of the ring. Clapping. Hercules, Herculeeeeez. Eating popcorn. Getting fat.
But! I’ve never really liked the cheap seats anyways. Or expanding my waistline with fear calories. The worst kind.
Half intimidated by April’s ability to answer every question so eloquently, half inspired by her courage to put herself on the line like a BOSS, I decided to get over myself + e-mail the podcast host, Srinivas Rao.
I basically waved my hands real high up in the air + exclaimed: “Pick me! Pick me too!”
Yeap. I literally invited myself to someone else’s party. Who does that? Apparently, me.
That year, my little interview slowly made its way to the “Best of 2011” list, alongside Danielle LaPorte + Seth Godin + Tim Ferris + Ramit Sethi. It became the most watched + most clicked + most shared + most downloaded episode of the year.
And there I was, sitting on the top of my #1 hit single. Feeling like I had just won a Grammy. For showing up. For trying. For channeling my inner April, the most badass girl boss I know, and realizing, “Hey! Maybe I have something to say too.”
Fast forward to present times.
Srini knocks on my inbox. Invites me for a second interview.
“It’s been quite some time since we’ve spoken. Our brand is totally different. In fact so much so that I think our audience would love you even more now. And of course I’ve done about 300 interviews since you last spoke with me so I’ve gotten better at it. Would you be up for a second interview? Would love to have you back.”
I wanted to throw up.
Cuz that’s what we do, right? Flake. Duck. Get sick.
The first time around I had nothing to lose. I was no one.
This time, I felt everything was on the line. My shiny crown with the invisible #1 on it. I didn’t want to give that up, you know? My prestige. My recognition. My badge of honor.
“Go away Srini!” That’s what I wanted to say. So I said “Yes” instead.
Cuz isn’t that the ultimate goal? Commit to the act of showing up, in spite of being afraid? Dare greatly, before we feel ready?
It’s tough. But so am I. So are we.
So without further ado…
Here I am. Back. Talking about how to turn life’s messes into stories of triumph.
- Letting go of the fear that nobody will show up.
- Putting ourselves out there.
- Dealing with unwritten cultural dogmas.
- The tensions between what we want + what’s expected.
- Why we need at least one biggest fan.
- The rocks that life puts in our journey.
- Embracing screw ups as part of the creative process.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to beat my own record, but if I don’t at least I’ll have the perfect story for Oprah.