Data Management - Essential Tips!

The importance of keeping your files in order cannot be overstressed. And that’s not just your paperwork; good computer file management is crucial if you want to stay organised and efficient. Here are ten tips to help you keep your digital files in order.

1. Organise by file type

Make it easy to locate your applications by creating a folder called, ‘Program Files’ and keeping them all there. If you need to grab an application quickly, you know exactly where to look.

2. And your documents …

Use the same principle for your documents. Keep all your documents in the, ‘My Documents’ folder rather than scattered all over the place! This makes it much easier to find things and to back-up your files.

3. Folders

Think of the folders in your My Documents folder as the drawers in your filing cabinet. Name your folders in plain language and don’t use abbreviations that you might forget the meaning of in the future. For example, if the folder contains TEGO articles, then call it ‘TEGO Articles’, rather than TGAs.

4. Create sub-folders

Within your folders you may need to create sub-folders. For example, within your ‘TEGO Articles’ folder you might want to create sub-folders called ‘January’, ‘February’ etc as required. This will help you keep everything well organised and will make sure you don’t end up with a random pile of documents.

5. File naming conventions

It’s important to follow whatever file naming conventions you have decided upon. You might elect not to use spaces in file names, keep file names under 25 characters or use all lower case etc. Keep things neat and tidy and be consistent. This makes it much easier if you need to search for a file; you won’t waste time trying to remember what case you typed the name in etc.

6. Specify

Make sure that the file names you choose are specific and logical and include dates if appropriate. When you name a file you should immediately be able to remember what the file is about without having to open it up and look.

7. File as you go

Each time you create a document, be sure to name it as described above and file it correctly straight away. If you get into this habit, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long term.

8. Order files in order of use

If there are files or folders that you use a lot, push them to the top of the list of files by renaming them with ‘AA’ at the beginning of the file name. This will save you time searching through your whole directory each time you want to access one.

9. Carry out regular file culls

It’s good housekeeping to go through your files at least every six months or so. You’re bound to find stuff that you simply don’t use anymore; that is out of date or even obsolete. All this clutter simply slows down your computer by hogging memory. Rather than just deleting the whole lot, save those business files which you think you probably won’t need to refer to again onto a memory stick. Each time you come across an old file, move it to the memory stick.

10. File back-up

It’s essential that you have regular back-up routine especially for work-related or business files. Whether you back-up to memory stick or to a storage facility in the Cloud, you must always make sure you’re covered in case of computer failure, theft or fire.

File management is easy if you get into good habits and follow these simple tips. A little effort now will save you a lot of time in the long run.

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Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk

Alison Page

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