Getting organized

October 15, 2007 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Software, Technology | 3 Comments

On the computer that is. As you gradually start to use a computer more and more, you soon find its not much different than paper. If you just dump everything on the Desktop or in My Documents, you soon have a big pile of files. Files that can seemingly vanish too. Just like paper.

Getting organized on a computer is easy. Set up a few tools and a few habits and it will take care of itself, almost. Start with creating places to put things. Creating folders on a computer is easy. Just crack open Windows Explorer and take a look around. (You may soon want a more powerful tool like the free xplorer2 lite or XYplorer. )

Create some folders for the usual stuff. Bills,  friends, and so on. In your email program too. Then file the stuff you might keep after you read it. Read and file. Simple.

Oh – and get in the habit of sensible names. A folder of photos named “Halloween 07” is much more useful than “pics”. (and there is free photo organizers, like Adobe Album or Picasa)

Only problem is that there are different ways to file things. An email might be filed by person or by the subject. The key is not how you file it but how you find it. With a decent indexing tool, it doesn’t matter so much where. Just out of the In Basket so what you see is what you have to do.  The Mac has a decent Search tool if you learn to use it. In the PC world, I use X1.com, a free tool that indexes all sorts of text files, email and so forth.

Secondly, learn to print less and save more. Now you can find ebooks and files easily, much better than a misfiled paper. And a lot less space. Much more sensible to have the registration and instructions saved as a file with the downloaded software. Or the documentation saved with the project files. But even thats not critical. Index will find the parts.

But now that its all digital, get a backup tool. An external hard drive usually comes with one and it can be automated on any current computer. Then it just happens. No need to think about it.   On that note, don’t miss the great free project tool for the PC – FileHamster.com. Automatically backs up your project files, each time you save. It just works.

(you can search backup, filehamster and more for more details and links in this blog)

And lastly, when you archive all that great work and files to CD or DVD, they are now outside your file index. For that, a little free CD indexing tool is perfect. (like DiskCat or VisualCD) Number your archive CD’s, run a quick index and you can find the file you made 10 years ago in less than a minute. Assuming you use vaguely sensible names (laughs)

3 Comments »

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  1. Hi there, I wholly agree – especially that there are different ways to file things. I often find that a personal computer’s file layout mirrors the personality of the user.

    Great article, keep up the good work.

    Graham

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  2. […] File Management + June 15, 2008 at 12:13 am | In Computers, Software | Oooo- exciting subject. Like watching paint dry. But file we must. Files on a computer are just like paper files. Your filing cabinet won’t be much use for long if you just open the drawer and toss everything in. I talked about this a little last year on Getting Organized. […]

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  3. […] outline how to set up a digital filing system to bring everything together. I’ve touched on this subject a few times […]

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