How many digital files do you have on your computer? If you’re like most people, you probably have tens of thousands, including photos, PDF files, music files, and videos. How do you keep everything organized? Or are you struggling with this?
The problem with digital files is that they accumulate quickly, and sometimes you don’t have time to organize them at the moment. If you allow too many files to pile up, you won’t feel like organizing them later, and then your collection of digital files will grow into a giant mess.
If you need a solution to organize your digital library, try some of these helpful tips.
1. Prepare for power outages
Being able to find your digital files is great, but what will you do if the power goes out? You need a solution for accessing your digital files.
Here’s a simple method to ensure you always have access to your digital files:
- Print your e-books. Whatever manuals, guides, or books you read in PDF form, print those documents out on paper and put them in a spiral bound book. It’s good to have your books in physical format just in case the power goes out, especially books on first-aid and other important topics.
You’ll appreciate spiral binding because that makes books easier to read since all the pages will lay flat.
- Get a power bank. Get a simple power bank that will provide enough power for your computer or laptop. If you need to access your digital files, you can plug in your computer and retrieve them.
- Get a USB drive. Store your important files on a portable USB flash drive and keep them handy in case of a power outage. Use this drive with your laptop to access your files instead of plugging in your desktop computer and monitor. Plugging a desktop computer and monitor into your power bank will use a lot of power.
Even if it’s not wintertime, you never know when the power might go out from a CME or some kind of attack on the grid.
2. Use a naming convention
Changing file names can be frustrating, especially when you’ve downloaded a lot of files and have to sort them out first. However, when you create a specific, intentional naming convention for your files, you’ll be able to find them much faster. You’ll even have an easier time finding them through your computer’s search function.
A naming convention does three things to a filename: it creates a prefix, suffix, and standard format for the entire filename. For example, the following format would be perfect for organizing your personal photos related to your travels:
When you put the year first, it becomes sortable in your computer’s finder window. With just a click, you can sort everything by ascending or descending years.
By numbering your photos, you can put them in some kind of meaningful order. When numbering, use at least two digits, but ideally three when you have 100 or more files in the same grouping. This will keep everything in order.
3. Use a cloud file storage account
To take your digital file organization to the next level, sign up for a cloud storage account from a company like Box or Dropbox. You’ll have plenty of room to store your files, but most importantly, you can tag your files to make them come up quickly when you search for files.
It’s always a good idea to back up your files, and a cloud storage account makes a great backup. If your computer crashes, you can access your files through the cloud and download them all to your new computer.
4. Use fewer folders
The more folders you have, the harder it is to find specific files. Try using fewer folders and use a good naming convention to make your files easy to find. For instance, don’t separate photos from all your trips in 2016. Keep your 2016 photos in the same folder, but organize them by using a proper naming convention so they’ll appear in alphabetical order.
A strong organization makes finding files easy
The ultimate goal of organizing your digital files is to make them easy to find. Even if the task seems huge, take time to organize your digital files with better file names and folders that make sense to you. You’ll feel better, and you won’t get frustrated trying to find files when you need them most.