File management is crucial to navigating your digital workspace for both personal and professional use. Navigating your files can be overwhelming when you’re in a time crunch and rushing to send out an important document to your colleague or client and can’t seem to find your files. An efficient filing system is essential to decluttering your workspace and makes finding what you need easy. The best way to start is by adopting a system that allows you to intuitively file your documents.
The quickest way to file is once you create or receive a document. Saving your file, naming it upon creation, and filing it in the right folders can save you a lot of time and effort later when you need to refer back to it.
It’s important to use descriptive labels to name your files and folders. Label them in a way that is easy for you to remember and recognize. You don’t want to look back at your folders or files and spend time figuring out what the file “document3” or “screenshot8746.jpg” is. You should be able to easily locate and access your files. Providing descriptive labels is also crucial for shared files with your colleagues. Creating a label system can really streamline your workflow when sharing and sending out important documents if you know what you’re looking for.
Keep your file names short. Adopting abbreviations that you understand is a good way to cut down your file name for quicker file identification and optimized file browsing.
Stamping out the date for your folders and files allows you to be independent of your file system’s date management. One way to date your files would be using the “YYYY-MM-DD” approach. The date of your project precedes your intended project or file name. For example, have a folder labeled with the intended project you’re working on: ““2018-07-03_Review.” Be specific! This is especially useful in referencing older documents, because these dates can give you a sense of when a project or file was created with a quick glance, rather than having to open all your files. Just make sure to date your files in a way that makes the most sense to you.
Folders within folders is the way to go. Having one central folder for your subfolders and files will be useful in helping you find what you're searching for. If you’re a student, arranging your files into folders by term, class, or week can organize them in a way that makes it easily accessible. For personal projects or work, categorizing your folders by project type and date allows you to quickly search up the documents that you need. This also makes moving or archiving all your items when you group folders together.
Taking the time to implement these tips will slowly build and reinforce your file management skills to help you save time later down the road.
Here are a few more articles on file management for you to check out!