desktop-productivity.pngInspired by the excellent Five Steps to a Kinkless Desktop article (a must read if you have a cluttered desktop and folder system), I thought I’d share my own computer desktop organizational system. I have four main folders.

  • Inbox – All incoming items (downloaded files, temp documents that you’ll throw away immediately, files for email attachments, etc.). Items you save to the ‘Inbox’ must be things that don’t need to be saved to the long term archive. The ‘Inbox’ is for things you don’t have a chance to intercept and save into your archive or which will be deleted after use. You’ll want to configure you Office software and Web Browser to automatically download files here, instead of the root of ‘My Documents’ or some other folder.
  • Archive — Directory in your ‘Home’ directory or ‘My Documents’ folder with all your long term reference materials. It’s your permanent file cabinet.
  • Projects — Files you access regularly during short term project work, organized into project folders. Mini-projects that take only hours or even minutes such as ‘Quarterly Presentation’ or ‘Performance Review’ also merit a project folder if they involve organizing multiple files.
  • To File — This is a special folder in your ‘Archive’ where you can quickly drag files that are ready for Archiving but you haven’t had a chance to organize yet. If you have Google Search or other indexing software for your hard drive, you can dispense with organizing files, and simply search for them when needed. If you go this search route, make sure you give your files meaningful names!

And don’t forget the Trash Can / Recycle Bin! Use it as a ‘To Toss?’ folder — if you think you don’t need it, trash it, and when you empty the trash, empty only files > 30 days old.