I have always been fascinated with personality types. It helps me understand the world around me, how I tick and relate to others, how I work and process information. I’m strongly Type A – I like my desk to be wiped down weekly, my books stacked, and cords hidden. My personality plays out in my deliberately organized file and folder structure. My coworker, Lauren, wrote about general file organization the other week, and today we’ll tackle folder structure best practices.
Sort into major groups
Are there folders you need to grab quickly? What folders will you share out in their entirety, including subfolders? Are there folders that you will never share out (better keep those completely separate!)?
I think how information will be shared and organize my main folder ShareFile structure accordingly. While I could organize based on quarters, “Social Media Training” documents might be shared widely no matter what quarter the documents were created in. My personal documents would never be shared with my coworkers, so those are kept separate.
Develop a hierarchy
Once the year folders are created, create subfolders for each quarter. Within quarters, you can drill down as granular as you like. With my personality and love for clean organization, my ShareFile account is full of subfolders. This makes it easy to search for specific folders and files and it’s incredibly easy to share entire folders of information with a few clicks, rather than selecting files from various folder locations.
Pick a naming convention
Lauren touched briefly on this topic in her spring cleaning blog post, but this step is so important that it bears mentioning again. Because I organize by years, I lead with years in my subfolders & file names for easy search. I search the year and quarter assets were developed, so I lead with those two annotations, followed by a descriptive name. With my hierarchy folder structure following this same naming convention, it supports my file system. Since assets are often recreated for each year, I can search “small business week” and see results for 2015 through 2017 and select the year I need.
Perform folder structure best practices maintenance
Even I have been guilty of dragging and dropping a misnamed file into ShareFile at 5pm on a Friday without thinking of naming convention. I’ve slipped video files into my career folder on accident and not taken the time to really think about where a file belongs before slapping it into a quarterly subfolder.
It’s okay. Life happens! The key is to go in weekly, monthly, or quarterly to inventory your file system and clean up file names and locations. I do this weekly, so it only takes five minutes every Friday before I leave and sets the tone for an organized week when I return to my desk on Monday.
Are you still using paper files? These same practices can be used!
If you’re ready to move from paper and join us in the cloud, give ShareFile a try for free for 30 days.