Manage files and folders correctly
It is unbelievable that someone can write about such things. After all, the topic is obvious and understandable and everyone who even for a moment has a computer can do it. You create a folder, name it, create or copy files to it. Another new file, same and so on. Everything as simple as “abc”. However, this is not really the case. Managing files and folders is a complex and important topic. Meet my method. Manage files and folders correctly.
I must admit, that I once put down a very important project because of bad file management. Maybe someday I will describe it. Problem was in managing files in time. Subsequent versions, going back to old versions, determining which file is the newest, etc. It’s all about managing the same files and folders over a long period of time, for example over the years. In addition, the aspect, that started to be a problem was the topic of proper data finding in files, replacing old files with new, known which file is proper.
This post will not be about common file and folder system functions, but about organizational issues. I also encourage you to read my other similar post about physical documents.
When management is needed?
From my own experience I have developed several mechanisms to help you deal with problems related to files and folders. Especially at work, it supported my efficiency and allowed me to get rid of the stress associated with the feeling of lack of control over data, data loss and quick access to it. Of course, these mechanisms also work well in private life, private problems, and therefore it is about:
- Records of a large number of topics (repetitive and one-off)
- Records of large amounts of data appearing over time
- Quick access to data (you need to know where you store it)
- Dealing with allegedly irrelevant files
Records of a large number of topics (repetitive and one-off) and their search. It is known, that everyone has a large number of topics on their mind that they must remember, watch over and control. Especially in organizations, these amounts can really make you dizzy. With digitization today, the number of electronic documents is growing as well as the number of files. Start by creating a file in Excel that will act as a small database that you can freely search. It should look like for example:
In the columns we have: the subject to which it relates, the folder in which the files concerning the subject are located, date of establishment. Simple. With 5 topics yes. With 100, not anymore. Organize them. Take into account, that if you set up a folder for some matter: today you remember its name perfectly, maybe in a week too, but not in a month. This database will organize all your matters in folders. Thanks to it, you will find any topic quickly (by pressing CTR-F and typing a word), even if you have 2,500 topics after 10 years.
Note that some folders have multiple topics. You create folders for one-off and recurring issues. What if you need to come back to one-off matters, e.g. after 4 years. You think you’ll remember the name of the directory. Certainly not. Name them precisely.
Record data over time
So how should you manage your files and folders on topics where changes are required over time, during the month, and over the years. In particular, this may apply to your projects carried out for years, but also, for example, the topic of offers collected from your contractors in given months or years. How to check them. In the topic folder, you create another folder each year with the name of the year (e.g. 2020). You place files with offers in it, e.g. in a given year. Over time, you get a folder with the main topic, for instance Purchase Quotes, that looks like this Example of folder naming – managing files and folders
For each of the folders marked with the year, you enter file versions from a given period (e.g. offers from 2018). How files should be tagged in such folders. I suggest giving, them the following name elements: Chronological numbering – the oldest in a given year is given the number 1 at the beginning, etc. In the next position, we enter the number of the year, e.g. 2020. Then the topic it concerns Finally, a precise date An example folder content may look like this: An example of file naming how to manage them – managing files and folders It really makes navigation.
Handling of irrelevant files
It often happens that at different times out-of-date files, with old data, duplicate appear. Don’t delete them, because they may come in handy when you least expect it. Create a directory in each directory called ARCH (archive). I move all the supposedly unnecessary files there. You never know when they might come in handy. Personally, I have an ARCH folder in practically every folder. The fact is, that he saved my life several times. This entry is only a draft. You will have to create your own individual system depending on your specificity, needs, experience, etc. It’s up to you what it will look like. You will probably also develop it, if you come up with interesting developments, please write. For me, the above system allows me to access all my data in several seconds. Some of the people working with me find this system quirky but I personally find it very effective.
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