Many home business owners maintain very organized computer filing systems. They're able to find their computer files with just a few keystrokes or clicks of the mouse. Other home business owners aren't as organized. They just save their documents to the desktop or documents folder without having any real organizational system for their computer files. This can lead to lost files, accidental deletion of important files, and an increase in the amount of time it takes to find files on your computer. This article will give you tips on how to organize computer files so that you don't need to spend time wading through groups of files every time you need to locate a document.
Cleaning Computer Files: Before You Begin
Before you begin cleaning computer files, make sure you have enough time set aside to make a dent in what needs to be done. Depending on how many files you have, it may take anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours to get them under control. If you have a big project ahead of you, break it down into several short sessions to make organizing computer files more manageable. You may also want to jot down some ideas for file categories before you begin creating folders and moving files.
Organizing Computer Files: Cleaning Up Desktop Icons
If you're not paying attention when you install new programs or download files from your e-mail, you could end up with dozens of unused desktop icons that cause computer clutter and make files hard to find. Start your mission to organize your computer files by reviewing all of your desktop icons. If they are shortcuts that you never use, you can delete them. If they are documents that you downloaded, move them to the appropriate folder. Pictures could go in your My Pictures folder and general documents could go in your My Documents Folder. When you're finished, you'll have a clean desktop that will motivate you to continue with organizing computer files.
Cleaning Computer Files: Develop a File System
When you're cleaning computer files, you need to come up with a filing system that works for you. There are a lot of great articles about computer filing systems, but they will not do you any good if you are unable to stick with them. Think about how you typically access files. If you have a home business, you may want to have folders for client work, expenses, and personal projects. Create new folders for each of these topics so that you can easily file your documents.
Organizing Computer Files: Renaming Documents
Sometimes, downloaded documents take on funny names such as ~111.temp.doc. Your files should all be named so that you can quickly find what you are looking for when you search for a file. Take some time to rename your documents according to the file system you set up. A file formerly named "invoice.doc" might be changed to include your client's name or the date of the invoice. Once you have gone through all of your documents and renamed them as necessary, you can move on to the next step in learning how to organize computer files.
Cleaning Computer Files: Filing
Now all that's left for you to do is to move all of your renamed files into your new folders. Client information would go into a folder marked "Clients." Spreadsheets that detail your business expenses, along with scanned copies of expense receipts, would go into the folder marked "Expenses." Continue filing all of your documents until they are all properly categorized.
Once you have cleaned your computer files, resist the temptation to just file your documents anywhere. File them in the proper folders as you save or download them, and you will save a lot of time and frustration when you need to find important documents.