If you had to find a document that you downloaded to your computer, would you be able to locate it quickly? Or would you have to search and search, trying to remember what it was called and where it was stored? Office organizing is more than just the physical file folders on your desk and in your file cabinets, you also need to keep your digital files organized, too. Here this Professional Organizer in NYC’s top tips for organizing your computer files.
Create folders. It can be easy to just download a file and move on with your next task. This leaves files randomly saved on your desktop, in your download file, and in no real order. You need to think about your computer files the same way you think about your paper files. First, create folders by year, and then by client, project, or topic (such as a folder for online receipts). Then use sub-folders to organize those broader topics. Here’s an example: Create a main file folder for 2016. Within that folder, create folders for each client. Inside Client A’s folder, you can even have folders separating specific projects if there are many. The trick to making these folders work? File documents as you go. As you are saving something, save it right away to the appropriate folder.
Be consistent in naming. There’s no use in creating a computer filing system if you aren’t able to quickly and easily find documents when searching for them. To make it that simple, you need to be consistent in how you and your team name your files and your documents. You should be able to identify a document without opening it. Use short names and include the date a document was created or revised. If you are using a shared file system on the cloud, include the creator or reviser’s name or initials so that everyone knows who was working on that document.
Schedule time to review. Just like paper files, not every document you’ve saved needs to be saved forever. Schedule time quarterly to review your files and discard anything that is no longer needed. This might be meeting agendas that have long since passed or notes on a project that was already completed. For files that you are not using regularly but still need to be saved, create a new category labeled “archive” and move those files there.
Make sure you backup your files. As we all know much too well, viruses and computer crashes are common. Files you are saving should be backed up on your hard drive. You can save your files to an external hard drive or save files into a cloud-based system like Google Drive. Make sure you are backing up your files at least once a week. It is preferable to set up an automatic backup process that does it for you daily! Try Mozy or Carbonite. Check out Dropbox as another alternative.
The key to any office organizing system is to stay consistent and use it regularly. File documents as you go and you will never be looking for a lost file again! Need more office organizing tips and strategies? Reach out to your Professional Organizer in NYC.