Your computer is sucking you dry. The average American spends five hours on a laptop every day. This includes work and leisure time.
It’s okay to use your computer for several hours, but extensive use can lead to a lot of clutter. You may download hundreds of files during a single computer session, and you can waste hours looking for the ones you want. Before you drown in online files, you need to try out file organization.
How should you start to organize your files? What should you do with the files you need? How should you use folders and labels?
Answer these questions and you can create a neat and tidy computer in no time. Here is your quick guide.
Evaluate Your Files
Before you start your digital organization, you should take a look at the online files you have right now. Go through each folder on your computer, examining photos, Word documents, and PDF files. You should also look at applications and software and see if there is anything you can delete.
Think about what would work for you in terms of organizing files. Your current folders may be okay, but you need to create subfolders to keep files related to particular projects together. You may also need to remove old files or create room for new ones.
Declutter Your Computer
Decluttering your computer helps you create space and see what else you need to do for optimal computer use. Remove any files that are not useful to you now. You rarely need documents from several years ago, and you don’t need more than one copy of a document on your computer.
Try to separate your work-related files from your personal ones. If you have a work computer with personal files on it, you can send the files to your personal computer and then delete them.
Do a virus scan on your computer to make sure you don’t have any malware. Delete any suspicious or contaminated files and take steps to avoid downloading malware in the future. You should also delete any corrupt files.
Reduce the Size of Your Files
Very large files can take up a lot of room. You can compress your files by right-clicking on them or using tools like Adobe Acrobat. You may need to create a new folder to store your compressed files, so make sure you delete your old one.
You can merge files together, which will let you keep pages on one file inside another one. You can use Preview on your MacBook to do this, or you can download a piece of software.
Using software will preserve your annotations and edits, which can be lost when you merge files on Preview. After you’ve transferred the pages you want, you can then delete the other files.
Movies can take up a lot of space on your hard drive. If you must keep them, try trimming them down using iMovie or another tool. You can also remove the audio, which can save a couple of gigabytes of storage on your computer.
Backup Your Files
You may have files that are not useful to you now, but may be in the future. You should still get these files off of your computer, but you can put them on a cloud drive.
Google Drive and other services let you upload files directly onto them. You can drag your file over the window while you are logged in, and the file will begin to upload.
Extremely sensitive files should be protected with passwords. You can place them behind a password on your desktop and upload copies of them to cloud drives and other websites that require passwords.
The folders you create depend on what files you have and what you use your computer for. If you use your computer for work and you have many projects going at once, you can create a few main folders.
A resources folder can hold the information you need for most or all of your projects. An in-progress folder helps you with the projects that are currently ongoing. A final folder stores your finished projects, letting you assess your progress and file reports based on your work.
Within these folders, you can create subfolders for each of your projects. Label each folder clearly so you know what is inside. Try to limit your labels to a few words like “Q3 2021 expenses report” and “Q4 2021 marketing materials.”
Having too many folders can be as much of a problem as having too few. You should go through your folders every few months and delete the ones that aren’t useful to you.
Tags are another way you can organize your files. They help you connect files that are scattered across multiple folders. If you need to keep track of budget information, you can use a green tag to mark files related to your budget.
However, they can produce clutter just as much as files. Be judicious when you use tags and try using folders instead, as they can be easier to access.
To make your individual files more searchable, you should put keywords in the file names. Think about what you would search for and label your files accordingly.
Try Out File Organization
File organization will save you time and energy. Look through your files right now.
Get rid of the files you don’t need anymore, especially corrupt and contaminated files. Reduce the size of your files and make backups of files you may need later on.
Then start sorting your documents into different categories. Make a folder for each category and create subfolders to keep related files together. Use tags to keep track of things in different folders.
Once you’ve organized your files, you can update and upgrade them. Read the latest guides on digital files by following our coverage.