When it comes to making backups, copying files or having to free up disk space, it is when one realizes the number of files that we accumulate on the computer day by day and year by year. System files, work (team, clients …), leisure (travel, music …) and personal (bills …). Having a consistent organization when naming and classifying them makes your work and life easier. But it is something that has to be done expressly, taking deliberate care in it.
A good organization-classification saves you time, separates the important from the least important, avoids headaches and wears you out on the things that are really worthwhile. Organizing your computer files well is like taking care of your car tire pressure. A necessary evil that makes the rest go better.
Our 5 Favorite File Organizer
5 TRICKS TO BETTER ORGANIZE YOUR FILES
1. Common and consistent nomenclature
When naming folders and files, follow a pattern or guidelines that you establish yourself. But always try to apply it in all corners. This will make your system coherent and consistent, and that there are no parts left unorganized or half-ordered (which will lead to some confusion).
Sit down with pencil and paper and define your own nomenclature. Make it simple, practical and direct. It has to be a complement that helps you, never a heavy and uncomfortable task. I share with you some ideas that can help you create an effective naming system:
- Use short and short names. They are more manageable and direct.
- Use common abbreviations or suffixes to describe the contents of the folder / file.
- Group (name) by project or customer name, or also by year.
- Avoid folders with tens or hundreds of subfolders (the less scroll and more direct, the better).
- Toggle UPPER_CASE to highlight certain parts of the name.
- Use special or punctuation symbols to highlight or highlight. For example: @Clients,! Mportante, _Review, * Delete, —2010.
- Once again: don’t complicate it. Include these or other ideas only if they help you .
2. At hand what you need. The rest to the Warehouse
Have more access to the folders and files you work on the most. Create shortcuts, launch them from a Quicksilver or Launchbar, put them in the Dock … whatever it takes to get closer to what you use the most. If you open them daily or several times a day, it is convenient to reduce the number of clicks you need to work with them. Current projects must be well at hand.
And the rest? Simply “hide it.” Create a large central file or Warehouse where you can save everything other than current projects. Completed works, previous clients, tests, old documentation … If you don’t use it frequently, put it in that «digital storage room». This will prevent you from bothering you on a daily basis. And if you need it, you can rescue it without difficulty.
3. Complete with labels and / or colors
Labels and colors are a way to highlight, distinguish or highlight the most important files or should be taken into account. Tags allow you to link files that are in different places on your computer in the same family. And colors is a visual complement to reinforce your consistent common naming system.
I am a big fan of assigning colors to folders and files. And is that knowing, just with a quick glance, what is behind each one, is very practical. Even when those files are in the same place and have nothing to do with each other, colors are a way to distinguish them. In this way, totally different files (work and leisure) but easily identifiable by colors (and their name, of course) can coexist in the same folder.
For example, you can agree on a visual color system like this:
- Red : documents and files of current clients that you have to work on (tasks).
- Blue : data and information related to my team, collaborators or my company.
- Green : folders and files with personal or leisure data.
4. Learn to search well
Being organized is fine. It makes your job easier, simplifies operations, eliminates small difficulties. But you don’t have to overdo it either. Especially considering the search engines that we have today in our operating systems. I do not know in detail the others, but the Mac (Spotlight) finds everything at lightning speed. Especially if you know how to search well .
Having minimally named and classified your files will greatly facilitate any search. Because when you search you are not interested in obtaining 50 results but only one, the one you need. As it is also an operation that you repeat very often, it becomes necessary (essential) to know how to search well. 4-5 modifiers or commands are enough to find anything in a few seconds.
Knowing how to search by dates, by attachments, by sender, by exact name, taking advantage of frequent searches … All of this strengthens your organization and makes you not waste time searching, but finding.
5. Have a renamer on hand
There are applications and utilities (scripts …) that are very useful when renaming a group of files “en bloc”. Images from cameras, music, and movies are some of the most common examples. But there is more. When changing the name and personalizing them according to your needs, do not think of modifying them one by one or you will squander your precious time. Use one of these applications to change the name “at once”. Be it 15 or 1,500 files.
On Mac you have many options to choose from: NameChanger , FileList / NameMangler , Renamer4Mac or Automator itself . Surely for other operating systems there is no shortage of alternatives.
These simple tools are extremely useful when starting a good organization from scratch or reinforcing your current digital file system.
6. (Bonus) Check, erase and clean
Today’s discs offer unimaginable capacity recently. But digital trash grows like foam. Doing a regular check (every 3-4 months) with a thorough cleaning is a good idea. Erase, clean and remove from the medium what is no longer useful or is too much. And if you hesitate to delete it, burn it to a DVD. You can create one per year or per semester. This will help you free up extra space, remove the digital trash and store that physical disk in any corner, since it takes up little space.