Oct 192009

Happy Monday and thanks to the many who sent congratulations and positive comments on Ruly’s virtual grand opening!  While you do not see any public comments on the website, there was quite a flurry of comments behind the scenes.  I understand that not everyone wants to comment publicly so please always feel welcome to email your comments to me privately at info@beruly.com.  Also, if you are having trouble commenting or don’t know how to comment, please let me know.

One request I received was to create a Facebook page for Ruly.  You can find it here.  I would love to have you as a “fan.”  I will soon have a Facebook fan widget on this website as well.  While you are at it, please also consider becoming a fan of the amazingly talented artist, Angie Jordan, who created the wonderful caricatures for Ruly’s commercial.  As an added enticement, each month, Angie randomly selects one of her fans to be recreated in digital caricature form.

Each month, I will post a “Ruly Challenge,” which is a small, easily-achievable action item you can take to improve your productivity and organization.  For the month of October, your challenge is to clear off your desktop!  First, relax, I am not talking about your physical desk, I am referring to your computer desktop–the desktop you likely spend hours in front of each day.

The Challenge: File or delete any files that you have saved to your computer desktop and select a background image that inspires you.

I became addicted to clear computer desktops during an interesting forced experiment with the Linux operating system years ago.  My husband was an early adopter of open source technologies and when we were first married, he liked to frequently change the operating system we were using.  It seemed like weekly he would update or change the software just to test out the new functionalities available.  I would log on to my account to see a variety of different desktop designs (as well as new word processing and e-mail software to boot).  For anyone other than a true geek, the pace of technological change in our household got to be tiresome and I pleaded with my husband to pick one release for me and stop changing it for a while. We also had to agree to a core set of functions that would always be available (such as printing, email, and accessing stored files).

I have since evolved to standard Windows and Mac desktop environments for personal and business use (with some open source elements as well, such as this WordPress blog) but this experiment had several lasting impacts on me.  First, I realized that open source software has some truly amazing features and I am continually impressed with the people who volunteer their time to write it.  Second, the exposure to different desktop designs led me to fall in love with a streamlined desktop so that when all of your applications and windows are closed, all you see is your background image and a bar across the bottom to access your applications.  (In some open source designs, you can go even further and see only the background image.  If you want to access your files you click the desktop to get a menu button.)

If you are a salesperson or someone who frequently makes presentations from your own laptop computer, this month’s challenge is especially for you.  In almost every presentation I have attended, there is always a point where the presenter has to access their desktop to open another application/file, etc.  Unfailingly, the presenter’s cluttered desktop, jam-packed full of files of every description comes onto the screen.  This is unnerving to me.  My legal instincts tell me to worry about seeing confidential information (and wonder whether confidential information I might send to the presenter would be seen by others) and it also weakens whatever polished image the presenter has built up so far.

On the few occasions where my own laptop was used for presentations, instead of a clutter of files, the participants saw a wonderful background image on my desktop.  For business use, I usually focused on landscapes.  This would spark interesting conversations about where the image was taken or cause the person to recall a memory about a favorite vacation spot.  It offered the opportunity to learn something about the person based on their reaction to the image.

In a corporate environment, you might not be able to change your background image to something of your choosing, but you might ask.  At home, you can choose whatever you like.  Perhaps a favorite family photo, a landscape from one of your favorite vacations, a special memory, a reminder of a goal you hope to achieve, or just something to make you smile.

There are two ways to accomplish this month’s challenge.  The preferred method is that you actually take some time to go through any files on your desktop and move them to folders or delete them as needed.   The “quick and dirty” method also works, though, and that is to create a folder on your desktop with an appropriate title such as “Working Files,” and drag all of the files on your desktop to this folder.  Then set your background image, which is usually as simple as finding a picture you like, right-clicking (or for Mac, control-clicking) and selecting “Use as Background Image.”

If you need help finding a good background image, one of my favorites (and one that won’t get you into trouble with copyright law) is:

I will check in at the end of the month to see how you did on the challenge.  If you come across good sources for background images or want to share your own thoughts, please post a comment.  Type to you Wednesday!

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