It’s long been said that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind, but what about a messy desktop? Clutter on your computer screen is a sure-fire productivity drain and an easy way to lose focus. So if you’re looking for ways to clean up your desktop, here are five top tips.

1. Divide up desktop space

It’s likely your cutlery drawer has one space for spoons, another for forks and yet another for knives – so that you’re not rummaging around but can put your hand to what you need in an instant. Use this same approach with your desktop by grouping files and folders by theme so you know where to look straight away.

There are also sectioned wallpapers you can download to help with this, making the location process even quicker.

2. Develop your own naming conventions

Most businesses have naming conventions for shared folders, to ensure items can be located easily and not lost. You can do something similar for your own desktop – but this time tailor it exclusively to you.

However your mind works, use this to your advantage and create a naming convention that speaks to your sensibilities and ensures you can get to files in a flash.

3. Make your most-used apps the easiest to reach

Whilst some of the latest operating systems know your most frequently used apps (and give them extra prominence as a result) this isn’t totally infallible. So use this as a starting point to make sure everything you use the most is accessible at a click – whether that’s on the Start menu, taskbar, or somewhere else you intuitively go to reach them.

4. Remove or relocate old files

How often do you go through your desktop to remove or relocate files that you have no use for? Chances are it’s quite frequently – but what about going one level down, to Documents or Pictures? Set some time aside to go through these folders and either delete what you no longer need or move them to external storage – this not only clears the clutter but is good practice for backing up, too.

5. Make it look nice

This may seem the softest of these five approaches, but it could turn out to be the most effective. Get your device looking just how you want, through all of the approaches listed above. A nice background or something visually satisfying will also help. Then, once you’ve got your desktop neat and tidy, you’ll want to do all you can to keep it that way.