Documents and Files
No matter what you do at work, you probably deal with tons of files and have trouble finding things quickly when you need them. Having a good folder structure is key to achieving this. It also helps to use the features Windows gives you (folders, filename and full-text search, sidebar favorites, etc.) to manage your files in a structured and optimized way.
Your notes and drafts (including your work journal, standing lists, and so on) will end up being the primary files you need to organize, because that is where primary work (note taking, brainstorming, and drafting) will take place. In addition, email attachments and other in-process work need somewhere to go that doesn't require you to dig through folders when all you want to do is edit the file quickly. Finally, your finished work and your other documents need to be filed away in a consistent, sane system, too, so you can find them later.
In this section, I offer some guidelines to use basic Windows features in a structured way to save time organizing your files.
- Drafts Folder for Plaintext Drafts and Notes
- File Folder Structure for Life
- Windows Explorer Sidebar
- Keyboard Shortcuts
- Keep all your work journal entries, notes, and drafts in a single "@Drafts" folder to save time organizing files.
- Tag your plaintext files using "+" for project tags and "@" for context tags. Use the file names to store metadata.
- Create an "@Inbox" folder to hold files temporarily until you know where to move them.
- Create a "@Working" folder with shortcuts to current projects.
- Maintain a single, consistent archive system ("@Archive") to store files by year and by project, so you don't have to think hard later on where a file is.
- Search, rather than browse, for files whenever possible.
- Use Windows shortcuts and sidebar favorites to keep current projects' files at hand.
- Learn to drive Windows Explorer with the keyboard to work with files more quickly.