Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Today was supposed to be a review on a rather unique planner I had run across. But when I went to look for my files, I couldn’t find them. After going through every folder (because I don’t believe Windows search works with 100% accuracy), I realized two things: I had deleted the files, and my computer filing system was a mess.
When I set up my computer filing system, I was a Getting Things Done purist. I figured that if it worked for paper, it would work for electronic files as well.
I had an inbox where files would land for processing; a current projects folder that contained my “working” files and was synched to my thumb drive; a reference folder for holding reference material; and an archive file for holding things I needed to have for the long term like old programming projects, client files and completed craft patterns. There was even a “someday” folder. Yikes!
Everything went into these folders. If a project was done, though, and started up again, it was possible I would have files relating to these projects in all four folders.
No wonder I couldn’t find anything.
…To The Present
In truth, I really don’t need to have things spread all over the place. I eliminated the need to sync most things by using Drop Box, and I can pick and choose what to send to the thumb drive based on what I am going to do that day.
The current projects aren’t really necessary, neither are the archives and reference. I have very specific needs: to track information based on what it is related to. I needed to be able to separate my writing and programming files from my general files for activities, just so I wouldn’t have to keep navigating deeper into a folder structure. So here is how it turned out:
Bye-bye Current Projects and Archive!
My first step was to take everything from the current projects and archive and put them in the Reference folder. I sorted, reorganized, and renamed things so it would be easier to find them. For those things where I had an archive and current files, I simply made an archive folder in the folder for all the files. That way, if I need something related to Girl Scouts, I look in the Girl Scout folder. If it is something from the last level (Brownies), I look in the Archive. If it’s leader related, I go to the leader folder; craft ideas are in the crafts and activities. You get the idea.
Splitting Out Reference
At this point, everything else is in one place, the Documents folder, right? No. Various applications have folders in the main Documents area, so I keep my stuff in a folder called _Reference. (The underscore pops the folder to the top of the list). I used this to separate out two other areas: programming and writing. I do this because there are a lot of files in these categories, and it makes baking up much easier.
I was surprised. It took about two hours to shuffle, file and purge. It’s been great to know what I have, and know what needs attention.
Do you have any suggestions on how to arrange computer files? Share below! I would love to hear how people find what they have saved.
Photo by Guillermo