Digital Filing & Organization Tips for Small Business Owners

Data-Filing-and-Organization-for-Small-BusinessIf you had to rate how organized your computer is on a scale from 1 – 10, what would your number be? If your computer looks anything like mine used to; you’re probably around a 5 or 6. The reason I say that is because most people have a general idea of where their files are located, but as the weeks and months pass, it’s easy for business files to get lumped in with random videos, blog posts, personal information and whatever else.

I can’t take all the credit for cleaning up my act; I have to give that credit to my wife. We work together and I must admit that she works a tad bit faster than me. One day she asked me to pull up something on my computer and it took me two… no three… okay four times longer than it would have taken her. She looked at me and said why isn’t your computer organized and I replied, I thought it was.

Right then and there she gave me a crash course on digital filing and organization. Here is a little of what I learned.

Use the Clouds

The first thing we decided to do was make sure we were taking full advantage of the clouds. There are quite a few different cloud services out there and they work pretty similar. Since we are both heavy Google users it just made sense for us to use Google Drive.

For starters Google Drive gives you 15GB of free space but if you need more you can get 100GB for $1.99/month and 1TB for $9.99/month. Gmail attachments can be easily saved to Google drive by simply clicking on the Drive symbol, changes can also be made to documents in Google Drive by you and the person or people you’re sharing information with through their embedded Apps.

Since my wife and I send a lot of emails back and forth to each other, we decided to take advantage of Google Drive for our work and personal business. It did make things a lot easier because documents that we used to email back and forth to each other could now all be in one place. Another advantage to using Google Drive is that I could now access the documents on my phone and tablet as well. Now I don’t have to worry about hauling my computer everywhere I go or keeping up with a jump drive. That little thing is almost ancient technology to me now.

Folders

Now of course you’re not going to get completely organized by just using the clouds, you’re going to have to do something about that messy desktop and those scattered files all over your computer.

In my case I wasn’t using my folders effectively at all. The cool thing about folders is that you can put folders inside of folders but you have to be careful because it’s easy to hide files from yourself. Using folders can also be incorporated in cloud organization.

It’s important to remember when it comes to organizing your files that you have to find a system that works for you. There really isn’t a wrong way to do it as long as it makes sense to you. Here are some tips I received from my better half.

Since my computer is mostly used for work, we started with all work related documents. I placed all work related files in a work folder. Next I put all my pictures in a folder, all my home related information in a folder, all my health related information in a folder… I think you get the idea.

Once everything was placed in a folder it was time to add subfolders. For example my work folder has about a dozen subfolders. Some of the subfolders are

  • Blogs
  • Newsletter
  • Press Releases
  • Leads/Prospects
  • Spreadsheets
  • Clients

Some of these subfolders have subfolders themselves, like the Clients folder. Each client has their own folder to ensure their work is never out of place. I used this same setup or structure for each one of my main folders and it has been life changing for me.

Conclusion

Thanks to the wife my computer is a lot neater and I don’t have to worry about searching all over the place for a single document. No my computer doesn’t look exactly like hers, I took some tips from her but I arranged mine in a manner that was best for me.

One thing that I try to do so that my computer never gets out of hand again is to treat my computer like my home. I make sure that I clean or I guess I should say file things away every other day or so. If you don’t take the time to do daily or weekly filing maintenance you can easily fall back into old ways.

What have you done to get organized? Please share in the comment box below.

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