Desktop Managers – How do you use them ?

In my old Unix programming days, I loved the concept of Workspaces on Solaris CDE. The fact that I could move all related work to a workspace was appealing. So typically, my workspaces would usually be – Support, Admin, Dev, Mail.

When I was done with Solaris, and was on Windows XP, I tried out the Virtual Desktop Manager Power Toy. It was decent, and allowed me to create multiple desktops, but for some reason I could never get used to it quite well, and ended up uninstalling it.

Recently after reading a Lifehacker post on Dexpot, I was tempted to give desktop managers a chance again. Only difference is that by this time, I had discovered Lifehacker, GTD and 43Folders.

Taking advice from some gurus on those sites, I had turned off all email notifications and even got down to checking my emails once every hour. But somehow that minimized email client was always a distraction, and sometimes the curiosity(anxiety) got the better of me. With a desktop manager, now I can safely move the email clients (both Outlook and Thunderbird) to a desktop, and not close them. Now I have them running, and downloading emails all the time, and doing everything that they are designed to do, only now that I won’t see them unless I switch to that desktop. Same goes with my RSS reader, which goes into another desktop, and reducing the temptation now to keep checking for new posts all the time. Oh ! by the way, I am currently using Dexpot, which I like because it provides a quick way to check what windows are open on each desktop.

So now I have got 4 desktops –

  • Mail    | My Outlook and Thunderbird email clients
  • News  | Internet Explorer 7 – Bloglines, Digg, Flickr, Youtube,….
  • Work  | This is where I work on my tasks and assignments
  • Ideas  | This is where I keep a running log of everything that comes to mind. Blog thoughts, someday maybe things,…

I would love to see how others are using their Desktop Managers.


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