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Simplify Your Desktop with Bartender

Recently, Cait Flanders mentioned spending some time cleaning up her digital footprint. This has been a good reminder for me to revisit this and evaluate areas that are and aren’t working in my digital life. I prioritize keeping a clean and minimal desktop interface. That feeling helps me feel more organized, even as further down the line things are less put together. Here are some of the top ways I keep this clean.

My desktop

My Desktop

Here’s a screenshot of my desktop. The background is a scene from one of my favorite Miyazaki films — Howls Moving Castle.

The applications in my dock include:

  • Pathfinder – Finder replacement
  • Atom – My code editor of choice
  • Evernote – Note organization on multiple devices
  • Chrome – The only browser I use
  • Terminal – For all code execution
  • Downloads Folder – Quick access to downloads

Evernote doesn’t live in my dock, but at the time I was writing this post in Evernote. I’d usually write it directly in WordPress, but my internet connection is still down from Hurricane Irma, leaving me offline for the week. I use Pathfinder to hide Finder and the Trash icon from my dock since I don’t need to access those. Pathfinder also hides everything on my desktop, so even if I have files in that folder they won’t clutter this view.

Top Bar

In the top right of my screen, I’m hiding a lot of apps using Bartender. Bartender is a handy app that lets you choose to completely hide apps, or show them under the “bartender bar” which shows when you click on it. I choose to only show Tweetbot, Airmail (both closed due to lack of an internet connection) and the Bartender bowtie in the main bar, then hide everything else under the bartender bar. If I need to see something, I’ll click on it and see.

My top bar
Bartender hides additional apps under an expandable menu.

I love Bartender for removing all of this visual clutter from my field of view but still keeping it easily accessible. The fewer things I have to look at, the better I’m able to focus on the task at hand.

A Minimalistic Dock and Bar

Keeping both my dock and menu bar clean is an important first step in clearing digital clutter. With these always organized, it helps more easily identify other areas of my digital life that are in need of attention and act on them.

What applications do you use to get a minimalistic setup on your computer? Does it help you be more productive?

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I'm , a full-stack product developer in Salt Lake City, UT. I love enlivening experiences, visualizing data, and making playful websites.

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