Use these ten tips to put an end to that messy file party on your desktop and in your downloads file:
Skip the Desktop. Only store files on your Desktop if you are actively working on them. It’s okay to drag a file from a USB key to your Desktop, but remember to file away immediately.
Skip Downloads. Don’t let files sit in your Downloads folder. Either file them where they belong or Delete them.
File things immediately. If you wait to file things they’ll get out of hand. As soon as you create or receive a file, put it in its proper place.
*Ask yourself: Do you really need it? If not- delete.
Take one day a week to sort. Every Friday evening or Saturday morning look through the files you’ve worked on that week and make sure they’re in the right place. Tidy things up, delete any unnecessary files. If you use a Mac, there are apps like Hazel that can automate it for you.
Use descriptive names. When you’re naming your files, give them descriptive names. “Marketing plan” is bad. “Marketing Plan - Client Y - January” is much better.
Search is powerful. The Search feature within modern operating systems is powerful. If you’ve named your files and folders correctly, they will be easier to find.
Don’t use folders within folders. Too many nested folders gets busy, but if you only have two or three files in each folder, you need to reconsider your structure.
Stick with it. Don’t give up. It always takes a little time to create new habits. Commit to using a file structure for a couple of weeks before giving up.
Keep tweaking. Top down systems are clonk-y; they rarely work. Start with one of structure and then tweak it as you go. Adapt it to your workflow rather than trying to force your workflow to adapt to a rigid file structure.
Assess your organization strategies. If you take time to assess your mess, then you will be a success. Trust in the systems you create and make time to learn them well. You will find that investing this initial time will save you time in the end.
Do you have digital organizational tips that work well? Share them below!