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Paint a Minimalist Productivity Desktop in Under Five Minutes

Photo by flakeparadigm

Are you in a productivity slump and stuck with a desktop background that isn’t helping? Spend no more than five minutes in Paint to create a minimalist productivity desktop to jump start your work flow and help you sustain focus.

Step 1: Create the Document in Paint

Open up a new document in Paint. Go to Image, and then select Attributes. Or use the keyboard shortcut, ctrl + e. Set the parameters to 1450 pixels wide and 900 pixels tall.

Step 2: Add a Text Field

After you’ve set the size, select the text field icon in the left menu bar.

Create a text box at the top of the document. The text doesn’t have to be perfectly centered. Left-justified makes more sense anyway, because the goal of the text will be to get your attention.

Adjust the font, size, and style, but keep it simple. This productivity desktop is meant to be minimalist to minimize distraction.

Step 3: Enter a Positive Affirmation About Your Productivity

Type in a positive affirmation in the text box. A good base to work from is:

“I, (your name here), will use this day to successfully… (up to three tasks, bullet-pointed)”

Affirmations are a good way to keep you focused on the right things. A good affirmation is:

  • In your own words, and thus easier to believe because it’s coming from you
  • Framed in a positive manner, so that you feel motivated
  • Focused on taking direct action or working toward concrete goals, to remind you of the important things that you need to get done
  • Written clearly, with simple language, and bullet points and numbered lists to break up lengthy text and keep the message easy to read

Step 4: Save the Document As Your Desktop

Save the document once you’ve finished typing and click on File and select Set As Background (Centered).

The new image will load and you’ll have a minimalist desktop that will get you back on track!

Other ideas

Instead of using simple black text against the white background (the traditional minimalist look), you can also put a positive quote alongside an inspiring image, or an image that helps you focus on succeeding at your tasks at hand.

Be creative with different productivity desktops. What you’ll need depends on the type of slump you’re in, or what specifically you want to achieve.

Important Things to Remember

The key to creating a helpful productivity-boosting desktop is to keep it minimalist and focused on getting you back on track. You do this by:

  • Using no more than a total of two colors (for text and background color) — this doesn’t include the color in images of course
  • Using no more than one major text area for an affirmation, quote, or other passage
  • Keeping the text in high-visibility so that each time you look at your desktop that message catches your eye and reminds you to get back on track
  • Keeping images simple and straightforward in meaning, and as personally relevant as they can be
  • Making sure the overall message is unified, coherent, simple yet specific, and written in a way that motivates you instead of overwhelming you with all that needs to get done — minimalism is about doing the few important things that matter right now, instead of tons of things (some of which don’t matter) later
  • Resisting the urge to make it picture-perfect (which is hard to pull of in the simplistic Paint) — it shouldn’t be so pretty that you’d rather look at it than do your work; you’re supposed to look at it when your eyes start to wander from so that you can remember how to get back on track

Get Started Today

It only takes a few minutes to paint a minimalist productivity desktop that can get you back on track. The great thing about these desktops is that they’re so easy to make and you can switch them out each day or more frequently if needed. The goal of each desktop is to support you in getting through a task or those few important ones.

So if you have fun with the process and keep the desktop all about you and your definition of success, you’ll have a productivity pick-me-up in no time!

Melissa Karnaze is an experimental psychology masters student. She's interested in how we can use technology with greater mindfulness, writes about emotional productivity at Mindful Construct, and loves how the web is changing the world.

  • Published 08/4/10

Comments (2)

  1. Douglas

    I “painted” a wallpaper that is divided up into several “sections”. and labeled them with; Active tasks ; to-do ; follow-up ; ideas…
    Then I move documents around accordingly.

  2. Melissa Karnaze

    Clever idea, Douglas!

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