How to Manage Your Files Effectively

How to Manage Your Files Effectively

Jen Lawrence
Jen Lawrence

Business Process Consultant focusing on streamlining workflows, optimizing tools, and aligning teams for operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Managing files can be overwhelming and let’s be honest… boring for some. 

But as I always say… my passion is your nightmare! 

Remember, an effective file management system boosts the overall efficiency of a company’s operations. It also organizes important information and provides a searchable database for easy access.

With that, I’m going to share tips on how you can manage your files effectively. If you’re looking to clean up your files or revamp how you store them, start with this question:

“What would I look for when retrieving this document/file?”

Would you look for it…

  • By date?
  • By project?
  • By team?

Would you look for two or more of these? In what order?

After you answer that first question use these 2 tips to help clean up and manage your files!

Folder Structure: Build your folders to follow your natural train of thought and don’t be afraid to make multiple layers of folders to stay organized. A good rule of thumb is if you would put the physical information together with a paper clip or staple, then they belong in a folder together. And don’t be afraid to go a few folders deep. A folder called “Products” isn’t going to make it easy to find what you need.

Document Name: If digital, ensure your key retrieval terms are in the name of the file so it can be easily located using search. In our fast pace, we don’t pay much attention to how we name our files. Think about it – how many times have you sent or received a file with a generic name like “Jen Presentation.” Super helpful, right? Then you dig through the files and have to open at least four different ones to find what you’re looking for. Instead, take the time to change the titles of folders and files to highly-descriptive terms. The author or subject name should always be in the title of the file and bonus points if you include a version or date designation. For example, “J Lawrence File Management Blog Article 112021.” At a glance, I know who wrote it, what the title and content are, and when it was written. Boom!

Bonus Tip: Clean out your desktop and download a folder at least once a month to keep on top of your file management. To go into further detail check out this blog post!

Get more guidance on organizing your world here.

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