We all know the feeling when we are frantically searching for a document we know we have saved somewhere on the computer but can’t remember the location or the file name!!! Stress and frustration that could be avoided if we were all a bit better organised.
Here’s a quick guide for how to declutter your computer in 4 easy steps.
One of the most important steps you can take to organizing your computer’s files is creating subdivisions within folders. In her article, “Where Did I Save That Document?” productivity expert Laura Stack suggests using subdivision to help with organization.
“If every folder were labelled ‘My Documents,’ you wouldn’t find anything,” she notes. Instead, consider making more folders based on type of work or the date it was created. “Microsoft automatically sets up a folder titled ‘My Documents,’ where you can save your documents. If you save EVERYTHING under this directory, you will never be able to find what you need,” writes Stack. Make sure you take control of where your files and work go.
Do you have a file — whether it be a spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation — you use a couple times a week? You should probably keep those around on your Desktop, but almost everything else should go somewhere else.
N2 Publishing CTO Jim Hall advises people delete or move files off their desktop if they’re not in use. “Move files you don’t use often to an external hard drive or cloud storage (whatever you trust and are comfortable with). And don’t be afraid to delete files you won’t ever use again. Clear out your photos and store them on an external drive or cloud, too.”
Before you save something new, remember to first ask yourself “how will I search for this in the future?” Take for instance, the example of searching for old insurance files from Stack’s article.
“You can’t remember, ‘Did I call that “automobile” insurance, or “car” insurance, or “Bronco” insurance?’ You would logically want to go to ONE place in your files to find all information related to insurance. So a simple solution is to put the noun first, such as ‘Insurance, Auto;’ ‘Insurance, Homeowners;’ ‘Insurance, Medical.’” By placing the noun first in the file name you reduce time spent searching and stressing.
Perhaps the best way to prevent all future mishaps is create a simple file-naming system that incorporates both a date and a useful description. Your files don’t have to be in a code that would make the pros at NASA proud, just use short, clear names for your files, advises Hall. “And be consistent with the style or format you use.”
Computers are powerful productivity machines, but like anything else, they must be organized from time to time to remain dependable and easy to use. Take these small steps and you can prevent plenty of headaches in the future.
An organised space helps an organised mind!
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