Are your business files a digital mess?
Most people would answer yes. It’s not because they don’t know how to organize files. It’s just easier to save things wherever the computer decides is convenient. And getting all those photos and files organized is one of those “nice to do” tasks that is easy to keep putting off.
This post will teach you a simple 5 step system to help you get this foundational system in your business organized in no time.
1. Pick a Storage Location
I strongly recommend a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive or Dropbox. I use Google Drive for working files because it makes it easy to collaborate with my team. And I use Dropbox for long-term storage. Both have very affordable options for additional storage.
2. Create a “To Sort” Folder
Unless you already have a file structure you love that works well for you, drag and drop ALL existing files into a new folder called TO SORT. It’s tempting to want to organize everything immediately, but if your files are a mess, it’s best to do it a little at a time to make sure it’s set up correctly.
3. Outline Your File Structure
Do a brain dump of all the types of files you usually store. Or, to make it easier, you can download the file structure template I created for you to start with. You’ll receive a detailed PDF with instructions and receive access to a video walking you through the process as well.
4. Remember The Golden Rule
As you start to sort your files, remember The Golden Rule: The fewer times you touch something, the better. As you move files and folders rename any files that do not adhere to your file naming conventions.
FILE NAMING TIPS:
- Use plain language to name your files. There is not a character limit, so be as descriptive as possible to make files easier to find later.
- Avoid abbreviations unless they are not something you’ll forget.
- Avoid using symbols or punctuation marks.
- Consider adding the date to the beginning of all file names in the format YYYYMMDD so your files can be easily sorted by date. (Example: Jan 1, 2020 would be 20200101)
5. Schedule Weekly System Maintenance
Schedule a recurring weekly appointment to organize your files, clean off your desktop, and empty your downloads folder.
Even the best filing system won’t stay organized by itself. It’s best to keep this in mind and plan to do a little bit of work to keep the system organized on a weekly basis.
Once you have your system set up, make sure that all new documents, photos, etc. get put in the appropriate folder. It might take a couple seconds longer up front, but it will save you so much hassle in the long run. Just trust me. Make this a habit now.
I can’t tell you how much satisfaction you’ll get from having a clear way that you structure your files, create systems, and run your business.
- Click here to download the file structure.
- Schedule one hour on your calendar THIS WEEK to set up your files
- Set a 15 minute recurring appointment M-F to work on organizing your files