Can Changing Your Visual Studio Wallpaper Help Keep You Sharp and Focused?

Howdy readers, Lafe here. About once a month, my partner in crime, Rich Seeley, has been doing technical takeovers of this blog. Here's his latest post, which looks at how your Visual Studio wallpaper can help your productivity.

To some developers this may seem like a silly question. Who cares about the wallpaper of all things when you're on a deadline project that is not exactly going swimmingly and it seems like everybody in the world is breathing down your neck?

Good point.

In that state of mind, you may not even have noticed the drab, dare we say uninspiring, wallpaper like this.

It's okay. But you might be forgiven if it reminds you of the tile on your dorm room floor or that cheap hotel room where you stayed when … well, let’s not get into that. Anyway, it doesn't seem to say: "Let's write some beautiful code today."

Or if you aren't visually oriented, you might be just as happy if the wallpaper looks like nothing special.

This wallpaper seems to say: "Don’t distract me. I'm coding."

However, if you are working in a windowless cube or inhabit a home office set up in the 1960's era fallout shelter under your grandfather's house, you might enjoy a peek at the outside world. This Visual Studio Community Wallpapers site does offer some eye candy.

Now you could glance at this and maybe think: "If I ever get this [expletive deleted] project done, maybe I can take a vacation to a place where there are calm waters and beautiful architecture." So maybe the wallpaper helps you set a goal for better work-life balance. This brings us to the question of motivation.

There are authors who believe your work environment, which broadly speaking could include the look and feel of Visual Studio, may influence your productivity.

Jacob Morgan, author of The Future of Work, says corporations are beginning to realize that the employee experience is just as important to business success as the much touted customer experience. This includes how the employee interacts with the work environment with a new emphasis on "designing beautiful workplaces," Morgan notes in one of a series of articles he has written for Forbes.

So if you spend your days inside the Visual Studio environment maybe wallpaper could help make it a beautiful workspace.

Could it make you more productive?

Kayla Matthews has given that some thought in her blog.

"Countless apps and software suites can help you maximize your productivity," she writes. "But have you thought about switching your desktop background to a wallpaper that boosts productivity?"

Matthews doesn't say wallpaper can work wonders. She's from the "every little bit helps" school of motivation.

And she has some cool ideas. You might draw strength from looking at a hero like Albert Einstein (available at Wallpaper Abyss):

You can also get wallpaper with inspirational quotes:

  • "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
  • "Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done." ~ Robert Heinlein
  • "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." ~ Wernher von Braun

There's more where these came from at

Another option is the aforementioned travel poster wallpaper.

"Although you may associate long-awaited beach vacations and global getaways with a lack of productivity," Mathews writes, "researchers have found taking trips makes people more productive."

If you have your doubts, read 4 Ways Going on Vacation Increases Your Productivity by Jon Levy, behavior scientist, on Inc. magazine's website.

So maybe wallpaper postcards of Maui or Miami or Montana would help you boost your productivity.

Mathews also previews wallpapers that help set down-to-earth goals including enhanced fitness, saving money, eating better, and breaking unhealthy habits.

If you feel creative and can't find a wallpaper to download that fits your mood or the mood you’d like to be in while coding, Adobe offers a site for you: Make custom wallpapers easily with Adobe Spark. No design skills needed.

The main thing is to find or create wallpaper that works for you and hopefully makes you more productive in your work or makes it a little more fun.

Fun in your work environment: What a concept.

Posted by Lafe Low on 10/19/2017

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