Have you ever spent time frantically searching through your computer files to locate a specific document? Do you end up downloading multiple copies of documents that have been sent to you because you can’t find the original? If this has been you, then you need these office organizing tips to create a computer filing system. This Professional Organizer in NYC is very familiar with the headache brought on by having to search for lost files and suggests following these tips instead of hitting the aspirin bottle.
Start by creating folders. It can become very easy to just hit “save” and move on to the next task. However, creating a folder system and taking the time to use it will save you time and energy later! Think about your computer files the same way you think about your paper filing system. Create files and group them in a way that works for you. You can start sorting documents in any number of ways – by client name, by year, by topic. From there, utilize sub-folders for further organizing. Here’s an example: Create a main folder for each client. Within the individual client folders, you can have sub-folders for each project. The key here is grouping items in a way that makes sense for you and your business. TIP: Don’t wait until later to file documents or spreadsheets. As you save them, make sure they are being saved in the appropriate folder. There’s no point in spending extra time sorting later when you can sort on the go!
Another important step is creating a naming system for your individual files. The goal in organizing computer files is to be able to identify a file without having to open it. Use short names and include the date when the file was created or revised. If more than one person will be editing a file, include the creator or reviser’s name or initials, as well. The key here is consistency. Follow the same procedure every time!
Just as you do with your paper file folders, take time to clean out your digital folders regularly. Some files can be discarded completely. For files that you aren’t regularly using but need to save, you can create a new category called “archive” or “inactive” and move those files there.
Because viruses and computer crashes are experiences that can and do happen often, it’s important to create backups of your files. You can utilize an external hard drive or save files into a cloud-based system. This Professional Organizer in NYC recommends backing up files frequently during the week. Better yet, set up an automatic backup process that does it for you daily. You can check out online backup systems like Mozy or Carbonite, or use a system like Dropbox.
The key to implementing these office organizing tips for your computer files is to be consistent so that you and those team members who are also accessing your files can find documents in seconds.