Today is the first day of spring (in the Northern hemisphere)… HURRAH! So, how about a little spring cleaning? When it comes to cleaning your office space, there are visual cues that move you to get organized. Papers are piled up beyond control. Wedding inventory, props, samples, books surround you everywhere. You get to a point where you can’t handle the mess and you clean. But, how about the stuff on your computer? It’s a little easier to hide that mess and disorganization because it doesn’t invade your life in a physical sense. The virtual clutter is hidden.
How clean is your computer and all your computer files?
Today, I’m going share…
3 Steps for a Clean Computer Workspace
1. Get all the loose folders, files, and documents into one place.
The ‘virtual paper’ can get out of control just as it does in real life. (Piles of papers and folders on our desk. Piles of papers and folders on our computer desktop.) I ‘gather’ all of those ‘papers’ and dump them into a “CLEANUP” folder. This folder will serve as my sorting/organizing folder (similar to an inbox.) It’s so much easier to manage ‘piles’ of papers when they are all in one place and I can review each one of them piece by piece and decide where they go.
2. Set up files and folders that make sense for your workflow.
Spend a few minutes thinking about your workflow. What are the sorts of projects that you are typically working on? Naturally, there are client projects and you’ll most likely have these sorted by client name (or something to that effect). But, what about all the other non-client things you work on? How you organize your folders will largely depend on how your head works and how you work. Here are some suggestions for how to organize:
- by area of responsibility (e.g. accounting, marketing, legal, PR, training, etc)
- by project (branding, business planning, business strategy, contracts, website, etc.)
- by stages of workflow (1- new inquiries, 2- outstanding proposals, 3- outstanding contracts, 4- clients – design phase, 5- clients – production phase, 6- clients done, etc.)
I like to organize my folders by area of responsibility (hybrid with projects) and then break sub-folders into years. I like separating things into years because I hate dragging onto old files for years and years and years. This allows me to junk old files (or save to CD). I also do not like revisiting old files when I’m searching for something. So if the 2008 files are out of my way, I can find the 2012 files quicker. Some files/documents will get carried forward each year (or aren’t applicable to a specific year) – so I separate those out. Here’s an example:
3. Start sorting the files in your “CLEANUP” folder.
Once you have folders set up, you can start the cleaning. Open up the CLEANUP folder and go thru each file or folder and place them where they belong. (You’ll probably find a lot of things you can just trash.) You’ll probably notice you need to create some new folders for things that don’t necessarily have place yet. Go ahead and do so, but keep in mind what your original system is from #2 above. (You want to make sure your folders have a rhyme and reason.)
The beauty of the CLEANUP folder is that if you don’t finish sorting thru all the files in one sitting, you can come back to it. Cleaning up your computer can take some time. Just commit yourself to going thru that folder 30 minutes a day. Stick to your system (folders and files) and you’ll have a nice clean computer in no time!
What are your tips for cleaning you digital workspace?