One of the most time-consuming tasks that employees have is finding information. It’s one of those things that takes minutes here and there per day, so it’s not always noticed as a productivity problem.
But searching through folders to find the exact digital file you need can take as much as 1 whole workday per week. That’s a lot of time spent if files aren’t properly organized.
There are all types of things we do to sabotage our efficiency. Not putting time and effort into digital file organization is one of them. People just create folders as they get the urge and save things to the desktop or downloads folders, telling themselves, “I’ll move that file later.”
Good file organization doesn’t happen on its own. Whether you’re using SharePoint, Google Drive, Dropbox, or your PC hard drive, making files easier to find takes a concerted effort.
The effort you take to adopt some of the pro file organization tips below is well spent and will be paid back in time savings week after week.
Don’t Make a Folder for Fewer Than 10 Files
Folders that have just a few files in them are making your files harder to find, not easier. Having too many different folders means more places to look when searching for a particular document.
A solid rule of thumb is to not create a new folder unless you have 10 or more files that need to be grouped and that do not fit into any other folder topics.
Use Easily Recognized & Searched File Names
How many times have you tried keyword after keyword in a file search box trying to locate a file that you knew was there? Pay attention to how you name files and use easily recognized names and names that are tied to the folder subject.
If you don’t have the ability to tag files with a keyword in your storage system, then try making your own tagging system in the file name using parenthesis, for example, “2022 Sales Brochure (Marketing)”
Don’t Save Files to Your Desktop or Downloads Folder
When you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to save a file to your desktop or just let a file go to the default downloads folder. But this is only going to make those files more difficult to find later.
It’s worth the additional few seconds to navigate to the correct folder to store your file so you don’t have to spend valuable time trying to find it later because you never filed it properly in the first place.
Keep File Structure to Just 2-3 Folders Deep
Another thing that makes it difficult to find files is having them nested too deep into multiple folders. Having to continually double-click to get down into a folder tunnel is also a reason people will save to the desktop or downloads instead.
Keep your overall file depth to just 2-3 folders deep. A flat file structure makes it easier to get to your files.
Do File Cleanup Once a Week
Despite best efforts, there will be times when employees misfile documents in a shared cloud storage platform. The longer documents are left misfiled, the harder it is to locate them. You can also get a snowball effect of staff not following filing best practices because no one else seems to be.
Have an admin go through the company’s cloud storage at least once per week to keep things organized, including removing any unneeded files (like old copies of drafts) and correcting misfiling.
If you are working mainly from files on your hard drive, you should do the same to keep your files in check.
Doing this cleanup once a week keeps it a short task and one that’s easily managed. If you wait until a month goes by, doing file cleanup is going to take much longer.
Archive Old Files Every 3-6 Months
Archiving files that are no longer used regularly is also an important organizational task. When old files are left in the mix with newer files, users must navigate around them to get to the documents they need.
Archiving old files every 3- 6 months keeps them out of the way and helps you keep your active files faster to find.
Stick to a Consistent Folder Hierarchy
It’s easier to find files that were saved by someone else or stored by a former employee if everyone at the company is using a consistent folder hierarchy. This means dictating what top-level and possibly second-level folder structure should be used when saving files.
For example, one company may use a hierarchy of Department > Team, while another one may use Department > Customer. Decide what works best for your organization and have everyone use the same method.
Learn How to Keep Your Shared Cloud Files Better Organized & Secured
Rocky Knoll Technologies can help your Charlotte area business put a structure in place that keeps your cloud storage secure and makes files easier to find.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 704.594.7292 or reach us online.