One of the most overlooked aspects of document organization is getting the files in your PC organized accordingly.
Every time a person has to search around for documents they cannot find, they end up losing time that they would have otherwise used to do something constructive.
Here are ten important principles you should follow when organizing your digital files and documents.
1. Never Place Files on the Desk
This is the first and most essential principle to document and file organization.
Your desktop is meant to be clean and to portray that high-resolution wallpaper you have going on. It should only contain the recycle or trash bin, and that is just about that.
For most people, it can be handy to put files on the desktop of your PC, especially when such documents will be accessed regularly.
You should know that there is a list of programs you can use to clean up your desktop and arrange your files appropriately.
There are also programs that are meant to combine financial reports, emails, and spreadsheets, among other files into a more indexed archive. That is to enable you to manage and organize your digital files.
Making use of these programs will ensure the organization of all your office documents.
2. Establish Protocol for Storing Digital Information
In addition to the utilization of programs that will allow you to organize your files, there are ways to create folders and files.
You can also create a backup for the files in case they are misplaced or deleted by mistake.
With the current advancement in technology, it is now possible to back up information in the cloud.
3. Create Sub-folder
Creating sub-folders follows the same procedure as creating folders, but this option is ideal with an increase in the volume of information.
Over time, the complexity of your files increases, which results in an increase in the number of files as well.
For instance, if an invoice directory grows exponentially, avoid deleting old ones or creating new folders. Instead, you can put subfolders which correspond to the different fiscal years.
4. Deletes Files You Don’t Use
Sort your digital files and document by date of their last update. Go through your digital records and ascertain which files haven’t been used for a while and why that is the case.
Familiarize yourself with the retention policy of digital files within your area of work.
If the files belong to you or you have the permission to delete these files, then go ahead and delete whatever you think you don’t require any more.
However, if you are required to keep the files, decide whether or not to keep the files together with your current ones. If not, you can archive them.
You can create an archive folder for a task you completed seven years ago. If the events recur every year, you can keep the documents that seem relevant in your most current folder while the rest can be archived.
5. Categorize Your Files
Think through how your files are used or where you are going to search for them.
Separate your work documents from your personal files.
Are the documents private or items you can share with other people? Are the document related to a certain project? These are the questions you need to ask yourself when categorizing files.
For instance, when coordinating a picnic for your company in 2016, you may have different folders within a single folder. For example, you can have a folder for “2016,” and then “company picnic” folder within that folder.
Read also: What is a Document Management System (DMS) and Why Your Business Needs It
6. Naming Documents with Reversed Date
An excellent way you can use to name your files is to use the last editing date but in a reversed inverted format.
For instance, for February 1st, 2017, you can use 20170201. That way, you’ll be in a position to find your folders with ease since they will have been organized by their date.
7. Be General and Specific with the Name
The search button can come in handy when searching for a specific folder in your PC. Therefore, when you are naming your digital files and folders, you need to be as specific as possible.
Additionally, the name should also be general enough so you don’t forget it.
Using dates is effective, but you may have numerous files with the same date. Therefore, in this case, you can utilize a specific yet general name, in addition to the date.
8. Proper Storage from the Start
Some people often undervalue the significance of proper storage to the extent of doing it later when everything has been disorganized.
Proper storage and organization of files from the start will ensure your documents do not disappear.
9. Your Digital Files Should Match Your File System
To find the files you need easily and quickly every time, use the same name for the digital files and the folders which you use for the files.
If you have a document called “Insurance” and you get information about insurance that is of interest to you, you can keep the document in your computer in the “Insurance” folder.
When you are looking for information regarding insurance, you will go looking for the folder and the paper file bearing that name.
10. Review your Document Folder Weekly
In most cases, people face the challenge of emptying their local document folder and transferring the digital files to the server where it is stored appropriately.
Although they are usually unnoticed, the cost incurred in finding information when such files are required is enormous.
It’s not only about the time spent searching for files and documents, or time spent duplicating documents. But it’s also about accessing the right information at the right time.
Accessing relevant files fast is crucial in enabling people in businesses to make the right decisions. After all, issues that arise as a result of poor decisions are simply a manifestation of the failure in accessing information, either the data is wrong or obsolete.
Organizing one’s files and documents involves more than just the above. There is so much more to consider, but these principles will get started in the direction. Organize your files in a folder and name them appropriately for easy and fast retrieval.