Start by deleting any unnecessary or repeat files. Go through EVERYTHING. This will give you an opportunity to see what you have. People typically save too many random files, which causes clutter. Get rid of as much as possible right away.
After the purge you will have a better idea of what types of files you need to create. If you have a miscellaneous file with random items in it, make sure you purge and categorize that as well. Create a file for each general category you come up with (example: clients, accounting, forms and documents, marketing, taxes, website and logo). Separate all of your documents into these files. From there, you can create sub folders for specific items (for example: clients – you can then create a subfolder by client, year, alphabetize, etc.). Just make sure you do not get carried away having folders inside of folders inside of folders. Remember – simple is better.
Even though you are switching all of our files into separate categories, make sure you minimize the amount of clicks you have to make to get to each file. This will make it easier to use the system and find what you are looking for. Remember, you can always use the search function within a folder.
4) Labeling System
Another very important part of organizing your computer files is making sure you have an intuitive and easy to use labeling system. Think SIMPLE. The more simple and concise your labels are, the easier it will be to use them, find items and maintain your system. Additionally, if you alphabetize clients in your hard folders, you should stick with the same system with your computer folders.
Commit to not saving anything to your desktop and filing it in the proper place right away. THIS IS HUGE. Most people want to keep what they are currently working on on their desktop. Commit to filing it right away. If you need a reminder, keep a to do list nearby on what you need to work on instead of cluttering your computer desktop.
Commit to filing your computer documents every time you use them. Once you spend all that time getting organized, you are never going to want to spend all that time again – it is much easier to maintain what you have already worked so hard to create.
6) Plan Ahead
Once you have committed to staying organized, start planning ahead. If you know you have a folder for invoices for 2015, make one for 2016. You will be relieved next year when you are still recovering from the Holiday’s and New Years Eve that you have already created this file. Always plan ahead – your needs are constantly changing but with a good filing system, the organization method usually stays the same. Always keep your future needs in mind when filing and think about how easy it would be to get something done now for the future.