In the well-connected world that we live in today—where files can be sent and received within a few clicks over the cloud—it can be hard to keep track of where files end up and how they are managed.
Keeping a regular check on the location of your files and having a proper structure for how your files are managed is therefore essential. If you find yourself in a similar situation, read on for six file management tips that will help you manage your files easily.
Submit Information Visually
Let’s start with what you share with colleagues and clients. Exchanging information is key if you want to avoid potential problems, such as miscommunication and missing deadlines.
For instance, you might have a client on the line who is trying to work out a problem on their end. Explaining the situation over a phone is difficult, particularly if the issue is not that easy to manage.
It makes sense to provide instructions via visuals. Support tech could record videos or create a list of screenshots as templates that explain certain problems. You can then share such guides with clients and even discuss how to improve them with colleagues.
Now, keep in mind that if you ask for a client to send a screenshot to you, they might not know how to take one or where are screenshots saved in the first place. Knowing how to manage files on different systems will also mean having the information to help those who are not tech-savvy.
Get Rid of Redundant Files
From emails in an inbox and their attachments to temporary system junk, there are quite a few file types on a computer or mobile device that you want to remove periodically.
The fewer files there are, the less bothersome it is to keep track of everything. In addition, you also get to benefit from the fact that your computer’s or smartphone’s storage is not as cluttered.
Delete redundant data permanently using relevant keyboard shortcuts or put files in the trash and empty the bin.
On the other hand, if you are looking to get rid of files, particularly because you are worried about the total available storage rather than the need to sort your data in an orderly manner, you can also seek alternatives, such as external storage.
Utilize External Storage
Speaking of external storage, services like iCloud or Dropbox are great because they are free to use with an option to expand available space by paying a monthly fee.
If you do not want to take a digital approach and would rather have an external hard drive or a USB flash stick, do not hesitate and go for such accessories.
The bottom line is that having an extra location to keep files comes in handy, especially when things become too frantic due to the sheer number of files that you have to deal with on a single device.
Create a Naming System
Another bit of advice is to create a naming convention that you find easy to follow and memorize. Since you are likely going to be using the search feature to find files (it makes sense not to mindlessly browse through different folders and such), make sure that the file names make sense and that they actually have names.
For instance, if you keep images with other types of files in the same folder (not a good practice), name images IMG_1, IMG_2, and so on, instead of letting files have just random numbers or symbols in their names.
Another thing to add about a file naming system is that you may also benefit from creating custom folder icons. Visual information is helpful, and combining it with sensible naming conventions is bound to be beneficial.
Avoid Too Many Categories
As mentioned in the previous section, naming files and folders is a must, but you do not want to have too many directories. Otherwise, it can become too challenging to manage all the information.
Create just enough folders that you can distinguish different file types without needing to mindlessly navigate between one directory to another. And while using the search function is useful, it still feels nice having files organized.
Back Up Data Regularly
The last tip is pretty straightforward, and it should be something you are already doing. To avoid potentially losing important files to cybersecurity threats, power outages, hardware problems, and other accidents, get in the habit of backing up data regularly.
There are different ways to back up data. Some prefer to use cloud storage, whereas others use an external hard drive. And then there are those who combine multiple methods and have multiple file copies backed up.
Regardless of your preference, data backups are one of the most important aspects of managing digital files, and you do not want to neglect them.