You get busy and just save that file to the desktop, planning to move it into a folder later, then before you know it you have a gazillion documents on your desktop and have trouble finding any of them.
Organizing your computer files can be a challenge, especially in the midst of a busy day that ends up being a busy week or month. But taking time to properly organize your files and keeping them that way can save you a significant amount of time in your daily workflow.
A messy computer not only slows you down because you have to spend additional time finding things, but it can also lead to your hard drive getting crowded with unnecessary files, causing your entire system to become sluggish.
In a study of 1,000 U.S. employees across multiple industries, it was found that 49% had trouble locating documents.
Staff can spend as much as 30% of their time just searching for information, including sifting through files on their computer and trying to remember where they were saved.
Another problem with a disorganized computer is that it makes backups more difficult. If you’re saving files wherever your file browser happens to be at the time you click “save,” it’s harder to know which folders to include in your backup. You could end up missing vital files.
Additionally, if you end up saving a downloaded file in a temporary location, then later clean your temp files, you could accidentally delete something you needed.
The first step in getting your computer organized is to decide how you want to organize your files. We’ve got several best practices below to help you do that.
Stop Using Your Downloads Folder to Store Documents
When you download a file from a website or online file storage, it will typically default to saving in your Downloads folder.
This catchall is not a good place to store files that you need to access later. Get in the habit at least once a day of moving any downloaded files out of Downloads and into the appropriate folder.
Don’t Save Things to Your Desktop
Saving files to a computer desktop is typically done because a user wants to easily find that file later. They often do this if they have a messy file structure. Keeping things on your desktop not only makes for a messy experience, but it also makes it harder to find those files once you get multiple documents built up.
Don’t Nest Too Many Folders
One reason that people save files to downloads or their desktop is that they don’t want to have to click multiple times to get to a file. If you nest too many folders inside each other, it’s a lot of work to get to a single file that’s nested in the innermost folder.
Try to keep nesting to just two levels deep, three if you absolutely need to, and then only put rarely used files in the 3rd level. The goal is to easily get to your files while still keeping them organized.
Use Descriptive File Names
Use names that will help you instantly recognize or search on the file content. For example, instead of naming a file “Marketing Plan,” Name it “Marketing Plan – Social Media – 2022.” This provides you more keywords to use to get to the file immediately upon a search.
File Things Immediately
Try to file as you go, so you don’t have to come back later to put things in their proper place. This will end up saving you time in the long run and keep your files from becoming disorganized during a busy week.
Do Weekly Sorting & File Cleanup
Do file tidying up at least once per week. If you do it weekly, then it won’t take you much time. Some of the things you want to do during this weekly file cleanup include:
- Sorting any files that may have been saved to downloads and not yet moved.
- Deleting any files that you don’t need (including screenshots taken in the moment).
Don’t Go crazy With Too Many Folders
Having too many file folders can also make it more difficult to find your files. If you have folders that only hold 1-2 files, consider consolidating those with another folder. A good rule of thumb to use is that in order to create another folder, you should have a minimum of 10 files that need to be grouped.
Get Help Optimizing Your Workflow & Keeping Your PC Fast
Unruly files can cause systems to slow down and become problematic. Magnify247 can help your Hamilton County home or business with a remote PC tune-up to increase speed and improve performance.