In my previous life as a Designer and Project manager, I witnessed a lot of different filing systems both electronic and paper. Some of these were quite effective but many were very cumbersome and way too complicated. Below, my take away is a system that I created based upon the best of everything I learned. I use this system across the board for all my files (on my computer, on paper and in the cloud- design-business-personal).
Having one simplified filing system that applies to all categories makes it simple to locate what you need wherever you need it.
Inside Level 1:: Broad Hierarchy based categories
You can see I have less than 12 folders that are logically divided by category. These live in my main documents folder (which is where everything goes).
Inside Level-2:: Sub Categories-Business folder (similar sub folders for other categories)
…again not many folders and I’m keeping categories broad but specific to help me quickly locate files.
Inside Level 3::Detailed Categories (Year- ‘Clients’ folder)
This is where all client folders are kept by year. I happen to keep my client folders alphabetically by last name but a numbering or other type of system would work equally well.
Inside Level 4:: Sub-folders or loose files
These are the specific files I need to keep for each category, they could be monthly accounting based or whatever I may need for working files.
I use a very similar Hierarchy system for my email files.
In this case I keep emails (when needed) in Outlook folders. Level 1-Broad, Level 2-Sub Categories, Level 3-Detailed categories
I hope this filing system overview gives you a few ideas of how you can simplify or re-arrange your computer filing systems.
What kind of computer filing systems do you? Are they simple or more complex than this? I’d love to hear about them.
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