Nice desktop for increasing productivity


Lifehacker is a great site for finding things that can make your life easier and increase your productivity. They have been running a contest this month where readers submit screen snaps of their desktops and submit them to Lifehacker for prizes. One of the submitted desktops submitted by Rooze really caught my eye and stimulated those creative juices into thinking how a desktop could be used to help plan what I need to do on a given day. Take a look at the desktop image below (click to enlarge) and think about what this person has accomplished with a simple desktop background.

This is a Mac desktop but the method would work on any platform. Rooze puts a monthly calendar on the desktop with full scheduling and task information displayed on the appropriate day. This can be easily done and is particularly effective on a Tablet PC. The innovation comes with the placing of project folder shortcuts on the appropriate day, so when it’s time to work on something the pertinent folder(s) are right there to send you to the project information you need. This is so simple yet I can see how this would speed up my project handling on a daily basis. Rooze uses a simple screenshot of the monthly calendar each week as the desktop background and during the weekly review drags shortcuts for the project folders into the proper day on the calendar. The “This Week’s Focus” sidebar is a very nice touch too. Maybe some enterprising Windows developer (OK I’m being selfish) could write a utility that puts an Outlook Calendar on the desktop (not just an image but live updated) for easy manipulation like this?

Note: the desktop calendar is rather easy to do in Outlook. Select Calendar from the Folders view and right-clock to open in a new window. Then deselect the Navigator and Taskpane if you use them to get just a simple calendar. This has an advantage of auto-resizing when you change display orientation on a Tablet PC (you do use a Tablet, right?) and also lets you jump between daily, weekly and monthly views. What I haven’t figured out yet is how to put a folder link on the calendar without creating an appointment or task for it.



BTW: jk’s trick with opening the Outlook calendar in a new window was really cool – didn’t know it could do that. What would make that useful for me would be an Outlook utility that would automatically (or even manually) cross off the whole day as it ends, like what you do on a wall calendar. I couldn’t find anything like that with Google – has anyone else seen something that would do it? (Please e-mail me if you have, in case I forget to check this thread!)


If you want to have a calendar on your desktop that can pull events, appts, tasks, todo’s from Outlook, then go to and get Rainy’s calendar. You can easily modify any skin so that it fill your whole screen and transparent so you don’t loose your background. I set mine up so that I always show three months and I have my events and task lists in seperate columns. You could have them within the calendar if you want.
Best of all the the little program uses few resources, is free, and I have yet to find it cause a crash!


Great idea! Very original and very handy!

I’m not sure if this is handy but outlook has a save for web feature. that ‘together with Windows’ active desktop….

this way you can dray and drop items/folders around on your desktop ‘yet you still have the functionality of the interactive calendar.

you still have to save your calendar every now and then, but it works.

George Cree

Very interesting idea. Inspired me to try the following:

I added a view of my MSN Calendar to my desktop, and locked it in place. I sync my outlook to my MSN account through outlook connector, so the view on my desktop stays in sync.
I then activated Ink Desktop (Microsoft Experience Pack for Tablet PC) and put up a note background, and locked this beside the calendar.
I can now move icons into the ink desktop and write notes beside them. I can also drop icons onto days on the calendar. I can even click on items in the calendar to see the details.
Not the perfect interface – but better than the static old desktop I had before!


The use of the “outlook today” page might also be a solution, in that it is possible to “tailor” it (as it is just HTML etc..) to show what you want.
Seems like an easier solution ?

Dave t

A clever idea. There are various prgs to put a calendar on the desktop but as you said you can’t then add the various folders etc.

I use a prog called Lesson Planner for example to do a lesson plan. It allows me to attach all the PowerPoints, graphics, sounds etc for that lesson TO that lesson rather than force me to put shortcuts on the desktop for all the resources I need. Similar idea. This sort of thing would be a very popular prog is developed; think of the hours wasted clicking through directories to find programmes etc!

I will try something similar to see if it works for school…thanks for the heads up!

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