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How to organize all my files???

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  • How to organize all my files???


    I implemented GTD about two weeks ago and really feel great! But there is one big open how to: Organizing one files.

    I have so much stuff in 'My Documents'. Some affecting just one "are of life" such as my university studies or my small business I run. Then there is all my finance stuff. Tons of documents I found surfing the web, part for this topic, part for other topic. Digital pictures, some are really just for my eyes, some I received from friends and could be shown to others.

    I tried the whole day to organize all that to fit into my GTD but I am totally stuck up and need some good hints.

    Should I out all in one big digital reference file? Help is really appreciated!


  • #2
    See this link:


    • #3
      You might not be able to get it done in one day. A historical perspective may be in order. I understand your dilemma. However, sometimes I believe the best thing to do it just jump into it, and start throwing things around “trying” to organize. However, you can put this into your weekly review. In your weekly review put in

      Re-organize My Documents

      You can, Re-Organize My Documents for a month, YES a month. What will happen is you will reorganize My Documents on a weekly basis. Keep coming back to the same file and it will get more, and more organized “with time”. You will slowly hone down your files and make them better streamlined. If you keep organizing them, you will find out how to BEST organize YOUR files. Tips and tricks from others can help here as well (link above), but more importantly YOU must organize them on how you want them.

      My computer system is always in flux, ALWAYS. Remember that, there is no one perfect system, but it works great for me.

      As a side note, concerning college...I put class folders on my desktop for easy reference (it also reminds me what classes I have). Because I use them frequently when in school, I put them on my dekstop. When school is over, I put them into My Documents for archiving.

      desktop class folders, par example

      Film Studies
      Last edited by arthur; 10-08-2005, 01:45 PM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by sunchild
        I have so much stuff in 'My Documents'. Some affecting just one "are of life" such as my university studies or my small business I run. Then there is all my finance stuff. Tons of documents I found surfing the web, part for this topic, part for other topic. Digital pictures, some are really just for my eyes, some I received from friends and could be shown to others.
        1. Move the pictures out into a separate folder just for pictures.
        2. Install Picasa and use it to organize pictures. Use Picasa to create logical conceptual real folders (hard drive locations) for groups of pictures. Plus use the labels for useful multi-dimensional retrieval. Pictures you don't want anyone else to see should be in a password-protected folder, or better yet, saved to a hidden CD and deleted on the hard drive.
        3. Organize the rest of the files in MyDocuments conceptually from the top on down. At the top, you might have "Coursework," "Business," and "Financial" (among others). Then subdivide those accordingly.
        4. Unless you absolutely must have permanent access to something that's on the web, save only a shortcut to it, not the webpage itself. If you have a huge, huge, huge number of shortcuts, upgrade your shortcut organizer.
        5. Put shortcuts to the few folders you use most frequently on your desktop or in the QuickLaunch toolbar.
        6. Install Google Desktop 2. When you want to find a file, just do a Google search using words you think are in the file name OR any words in the document. It's fantastic.
        Focus most on the creating folders for just the files you use the most. It is not necessary to have all your digital files organized perfectly by location, because digital search makes it easy to find them. So if you don't get all your pictures or web downloads or miscellaneous interesting stuff filed beautifully, don't worry about it.

        Decently organized digital folders still have their usefulness (especially for the function of certain applications), but Google's indexed search lets you find stuff even if your files are a disorganized mess.

        Paper files are another story. Without Superman to search through files of paper super-fast, you have to put them where you can find them again later.


        • #5
          Hey Sunchild,
          Here are my thoughts.

          First of all, Get a mac. (sorry, I couldn't resist)

          No really, whichever OS you are committed to, I suggest that you commit to it. You should have all the tools that you need within the Windows to setup a functional organizational system. I would be cautious about implementing 3rd party software to do fundamental tasks such as organizing photos and music unless you are reasonably certain that such tools will be around and scale as your needs scale. The native tools in Windows (creating folders) should suffice. I'm not diminishing the value of some of these products, but once you get yourself tied to a program that doesn't meet your needs or even worse—stops being developed, you could potentially multiply your organizational nightmares.

          GTD recommends a simple Alpha reference file system. Why don't you try to do the same for your digital files. I would start by dumping everything into your My Documents folder. Take your pictures, movies, and music and place them in the respective folders that Windows has already designated for them. For the rest of your files, David Allen says "sort everything by topic, project, person, company, so it can be in only three or four places if you forget exactly where you put it." I would try to keep your files no more than two levels deep. Anything more than that and it's a landfill.

          Take advantage of search to find stuff and utilize an inbox to collect stuff that you accumulate during the day. If you're lazy, your desktop could be your inbox, once a day clear your inbox and put those files in the right places.

          The reason why I stress using the OS tools whenever possible is because of my own personal experience when upgrading my own computer. Previously, I kept files all over the place; buried deep in sub folders, on different drives, you name it. When it came time to gather all my files and move them to my new computer, had they been in the folders that were designated for them by the OS, it would have been a breeze getting everything to transfer without a hitch. You will invetiably upgrade and if you have your stuff exactly where the computer expects it to be, you'll be praising the Gods for having done so.

          Remember, the graphical user interface, whether you use a Windows or MAC OS, is still a metaphor for the real world office and desktop. It may not be the best metaphor, but it's the metaphor nonetheless.


          • #6
            Here is how I managed to get my computer files organized. First off I stopped using WinXP's "My Documents". I find that a lot of software creates it own directories in there and just makes things feel cluttered. So I created my own "My Docs".

            If I were in the poster's situation "My Doc's" might look like this:

            @ INBOX

            Then each folder has its own sub-directories, broken down as needed. For examples Education might have the following sub-folders:

            General (for non class files)

            Then your Classes directory could have a directory for each class that you were currently taking. Then you could also make a directory @ Completed where you could put your completed classes in, that way you won't have to browse through a bunch of old classes.

            I clean out my digital inbox as part of my weekly review. I used to have a bad habbit of storing a lot of files on my desktop, but now I just dump them into the Inbox and it gets taken care of weekly.

            Hope this helps