Top 5 Tips to Help You Organize Your Files and Folders
Getting your computer files organized is one of the simplest and most overlooked aspects of staying on top of things. Every time you have to search for a document that you can't find or make unnecessary clicks to access a folder, you're not being as productive as you could be. You are misusing valuable time that could be spent doing something that could well help you achieve your goals faster.
You can never get your time back once you've spent it, and if you do nothing with your file organization methods, you will continue to waste time doing "detective work". The number of files on your PC is only going to grow, so now is the time to take action.
Put simply, you should not be wasting your time looking for your files. A file should be found in five seconds, not five minutes. So, here are some actionable tips to help you organize your files and folders fast.
1. Create a Digital Filing System
A filing system goes back to the days of a filing cabinet with paper files and folders.
The original paper-based filing system had one huge advantage - you had to think in advance where to put files so that you could readily find them when they were needed. Digital files are different - you can't see or touch them and it's all too simple to get files scattered all over your hard drive.
Because this is a digital rather than a physical mess, you may not know you have a problem until you can't find the files you urgently need. You wouldn't realize how inconvenient a disorderly system is until it's almost too late!
Creating a digital filing cabinet will help you to come up with a system that will allow you to organize files and folders for quick access and increased productivity.
Your file organization system should achieve three goals:
- Easy to save files - you don't want your filing system to be a massive, hierarchical maze. It should be intuitive and simple.
- Easy to find files - your system should make it simple to locate the file or folder you need, whether by browsing directories or searching.
- Efficient - use clear and intuitive naming standards for your files and folders.
2. Keep the Desktop Clean
We're all guilty of dumping files to the desktop and then losing track of them. But your desktop is supposed to be tidy and show off that wonderful high-resolution wallpaper you have. Ideally, it should house your trash/recycle bin and nothing else. The rest of the files should be stored in dedicated folders where they are easy to find.
Sure, it can be useful to keep a file or two on your desktop for temporary storage, especially for files you need to check quickly and delete. But that's about it.
Keeping the desktop clean will also speed up your computer because everything you store on the desktop is stored in your computer's memory and makes system startup slower.
3. Create a File and Folder Naming Strategy
Remember, “Easy to Find” is one of your file-organization aims. An efficient technique to accomplish this is to give some thought to how you name your folders and files.
File and folder naming should be nothing complicated so that you don't lose track of everything. When naming files and folders, try to think of how and when you might need to access them and how to make them easy to find.
A good way to name files is to:
- include a date where relevant
- include words that let you make connections
- include the document type where relevant (bill, tax return, etc.)
4. Delete Duplicate Files and Empty Folders
If you think that you don't have duplicate files, you're wrong. Everybody has them - even your geeky software developer friend!
When you don't keep your files organized, there is a chance of saving the same files twice, or even numerous times, in separate directories. These files are not to be confused with deliberate backups; they are useless copies that create a digital mess and waste storage space. They may also be decreasing your cloud storage capacity and stifling automatic backups.
That is why, when it comes to organizing storage space on your PC or Mac, the most useful thing you can do is delete duplicate files, photographs, and emails. With Easy Duplicate Finder, you can handle it all: it contains scan modes for dealing with duplicate files on your PC, Mac, cloud storage, and even your email client.
5. Use Sync Services and Cloud Storage
Sync services (including those integrated into macOS and Windows 10) are fantastic tools for having access to crucial documents across several devices and being productive no matter where you are. They're also excellent for sharing digital data with others.
Dropbox is one of the popular services, but many people also use iCloud, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
If you think you have duplicate files in your cloud storage too, Easy Duplicate Finder can find and remove them from Google Drive and Dropbox really quickly.
We hope this post has given you some suggestions for properly organizing your files and folders. Keep in mind that it's simple as long as you follow the principles from the start and create an effective hierarchy.
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