Computer Organization Ideas You Can Start Today
We all know that our computers hold all sorts of digital resources that we use for work and in our personal lives.
From our children’s photos to financial records, the data we store on our hard drives can be essential.
But, if your computer’s files are cluttered and disorganized, it can be challenging to find the documents you need when you really need them.
Be honest here: how many times have you had to go to the “search” tab on your desktop to find a file? If you’re having to do this every time you’re looking for a document, you could probably use a better organization strategy!
This was me for the longest time LOL. I had to do something, and fast.
Here are some suggestions to help you organize the resources you keep on your computer. These strategies have been helpful to clients, and I’m hoping they’ll help you too.
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1. Invest in an External Hard Drive
Just imagine having a system failure or data breach, and you have absolutely no way of bringing the files back. How would you feel? All those creative hours down the drain…
Losing data on your computer is a genuine possibility in the online world, and starting over after significant data loss is one of the hardest things to do.
An external hard drive is an excellent way to store large amounts of content without bogging down your computer in the process.
External hard drives are especially useful for storing photos, music or even videos. This will free up a significant amount of room on your personal computer, as well as ensure your content will be safe no matter what.
You can set up a schedule to perform a backup regularly (once-a-week is a good start).
I use a Seagate Portable Drive (pictured below):
I got mine from Amazon, but you can shop around for similar products:
2. Trash Redundant and Duplicate Files
After you’ve used your computer for some time, it’s almost impossible to avoid gathering files that you don’t need anymore or that were never useful in the first place.
Not only can these files take up valuable space on your hard drive, but they can also make it hard to find the data you’re looking for. If you haven’t used a file or program in a long time, why not delete or archive it?
There are various tools to help you track down duplicate files on your computer. One of them, CCleaner is highly recommended and effective. You can review it and try it for yourself.
Otherwise, take some time to go through all your folders and delete all those duplicates to your heart’s content 😄.
You won’t believe how many duplicate files I found on my pc when I first checked for them!
If you’re a hoarder (it’s okay if you are 😊,) you could always back up EVERYTHING first so you’ll have it just in case.
- Copy vs. Shortcut vs. Move
Sometimes we want a file to be in a different location on our computers for whatever reason. Many people immediately start to copy that file over. Before you copy that file, however, you should ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Would a shortcut of the file work instead? A shortcut will lead you to the original file via an icon on your desktop where it’ll be easy to access. Copying, on the other hand, makes a replica of your file, so you end up with two of the same files in two locations. So, if you really don’t need that copy, you can make a shortcut. To make a shortcut of your file, right-click the file and select “create shortcut”.
- Would a move be better? If you want to transfer your file to a different location or folder, you should move it rather than copy. This will help reduce the number of duplicate files you have on your drives.
3. Organize Your Web Bookmarks
An overflowing bookmarks bar can stress you out when you’re looking for particular content.
Most web browsers let you sort your bookmarks just like you would other files on your computer, including allowing you to create folders.
You can also sort your content by name to make them easier to find. If you use bookmarks, you want a simple way to access content quickly.
I like to use the Pocket app to organize my web content. There’s even a Pocket chrome extension you can add to your browser so that when you find something of interest, you can drop it into your Pocket list right away.
Pocket allows you to organize your content with categories and tags just like on a website. This is a great way to stay on top of things! Pocket also integrates with more than 300 apps, including Flipboard and Twitter.
4. Clean Up Your Filing System
Your computer uses a system of folders and subfolders to help keep your files organized. It reminds me of a filing cabinet, (which I detest!) but you still want to keep these uncluttered and easy to access.
Try to move your files into a few main folders with related sub-folders within. For example, you may have a folder named “Blogging” which contains other sub-folders such as “pictures” or “courses,” and any others that would fit the main category. That way, you know where to go to find anything related to Blogging.
Please try to give your files meaningful names. Names that match the topic of the file will always be easier to find.
—- To create a sub-folder on a PC, right-click the main folder then select “New” >> “Folder.”
5. Helpful Tools
There are many tools to make organizing resources on your computer a smooth and stress-free task.
Cloud-based tools are especially useful for this because you don’t have to use up space on your computer and you can access your files from any device.
Here are a few more:
You may already use Evernote for your blog writing. It’s a highly popular tool and for good reason. Evernote is easy to use and integrates with other apps like Google Drive, Outlook, and SalesForce when you upgrade from the free plan to premium ($7.99 per month).
Instapaper is a bookmarking service, similar to Pocket. It allows you to save web content so you can read it later on a different device, such as an e-reader, smartphone, or tablet. Instapaper is popular for its simplicity and is currently free for just about all you’ll likely need it for in your business. There is a premium plan though, for $2.99 per month or $29.99 for the year.
OneDrive is Windows’ cloud storage system. You can upload your files to OneDrive instead of keeping them all on your computer. You can then access your files whenever you need them. OneDrive is free for storage-only plans (5GB).
Keep in mind there’s no perfect system or technique for organizing the many resources on your computer. What seems right to one user may be a total pain to another. The trick is to find the system that works best for you. And, once you’ve set up something that works, you’ll want to keep it up, or you’ll end up back where you started.
Give the above methods a try. Or, you can always outsource this to a VA!