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This lesson is a screen recording showing how to set up a minimalist computer.

Minimalist Computer: The Desktop

This is a Mac. Right now the desktop has a beautiful photo on it. I like to choose photos that are calm, peaceful, and happy. This is a sacred space.

You can see there are a couple things that I need to work on but perhaps I cannot work on them right now. I want to clear this desktop. Here I have a working folder. I have a few videos I need to work on, so I put them in the working folder. Once I have uploaded them, I will put them in an archive folder I have.

I have now cleared off the desktop.

I also have a dropbox. This dropbox are things I want synced between different computers to make sure it is backed up.


The Downloads folder, I try to keep empty. My archives are saved in the Documents folder.

I drag my Working folder into the Documents folder. Here is the thing. Now that is on not on my desktop, how am I going to remember to do it?

If you put it away in a folder, you need to remember to put it on your task list. These are on my task list and I know I need to work o the videos and upload them. I need to work on the interview and upload it.

I’ve found that putting icons on your desktop as a reminder is not usually a good idea. It ends up being a bunch of clutter and is hard to find things that you need to work on.

The Dock

If you notice, I have a Dock here that is hidden. If you have a Mac, I like to hide that. You can do that by right clicking and turn hiding on.

I also remove most thing form my dock unless they are active programs. I quit all of those so the dock doesn’t become a long string of cluttered things. I just like to have a few key things that I am looking for.

That is a simple, minimalist desktop.


I really like to back things up online so there are a few services I use.

One is Google Photos. I will take all of my photos and drag them into Google Photos. Or if it is on my phone, where I take most of my photos, I have the Google Photos App sync with my phone. It’s free, uploads fast, and easy to find stuff.

If you are worries about privacy, Google is not the way to go. But if you like everything backed up online, photos and videos you can upload to Google Photos.

I use Dropbox for

For work stuff, I upload all my videos to Vimeo, which is an online service and has everything backed up there.

I also backup in Amazon Cloud storage.

Everything I do is uploaded. I delete it once it’s uploaded and save space on my hard drive. In the end, I have a beautiful, minimalist desktop.


I use Taskbar for launching. It is command spacebar and it opens an icon where I can type in what I want to open. This is a minimalist computer. It keeps everything simple, hidden, and backed up.

Minimalist Phone: Iphone

Turn off notifications for all apps, except for key messaging apps. The two I use are:

I barely use text messaging. If you turn off notifications, you are distracted by your phone less.


This way I am not tempted to open the phone and click on apps.

The next screen has my meditation App. Very intentionally, I clear everything else away.

I put everything into a folder on the third screen called Uncertainty. What the Uncertainty folder reminds me that what I am doing is because of uncertainty. There is some kind of uncertainty that is prompting us to open up our phone. I notice I do it when I am feeling uncertainty about something.

All of those are uncertainties that lead me to unconsciously open my apps.

I have consciously moved everything into one folder. That forces me to open apps by typing it in. To open any of them, I have to swipe down and start typing. It’s not something that I just see and click open. I have to consciously decide to use the app.

A minimalist phone removes as many notifications as possible. I suggest you take things off your home screen, put them in a folder and force yourself to consciously use them.

Check in on Slack to share some of your own ideas.