#159: Desktop Decluttering and File Organization

Office Operations

I like to keep a tidy operation when it comes to organizing my office, paper filing systems, and especially digital filing systems. Most people have heard that having too many files on your desktop will slow down your computer. Is it true? Kind of, but not really. With computers nowadays, it may slow down certain processes by a fraction of a degree, but assuming you have a modern computer, it’s unlikely to pose a serious problem.

The real problem with desktop disorganization – and file disorganization in general – is that it’s going to slow you down because you are wasting time. How much time have you wasted trying to find a particular file or had to recreate something because you couldn’t find it?

I love creating systems in which everything has its place! In this episode, I show you my one-folder filing solution for your desktop and sample file organization structures to get you started with your own digital filing system.

Hi and welcome to Systems Sunday. This month we are going to be spring cleaning your digital space. I’m going to show you everything I know about decluttering, file systems, backup systems, it’s going to be lots of fun this month.

I am Lisa Wells, your Virtual Assistant Trainer.

In this episode, I’m going to show you is how to declutter your desktop and create a system so that every file has its place.

This is my typical desktop after about a week. It’s not that bad, I used to be a lot worse and have the entire desktop filled up with lots of different types of files and folders and the problem was that it took me a long time to find things, or I would lose things, or I would misplace things, or I would not have them named correctly. So I was wasting a lot of time and I came up with a system in which I know where everything is and everything has its place.

I don’t like to use the My Documents folder or the downloads folder, what I like to do is save everything to my desktop of things that I’m working on that week. This makes it easy access and many times things that I’m working on are only temporary or that I use for a day or two so I don’t need to file it away and then have to remember dozens of file locations to clean up.

Step 1 is to create a new folder and you can name it whatever you’d like – something like Files or Docs. Then you’re going to Select everything on your Desktop with the exception of the folder you just created and perhaps the Recycle Bin, and then you’re going to move the files over to the new folder. Now we have a nice clean desktop and we only have to work with just the one folder.

Step 2 is to open up the folder you just created and scroll through each of the files and clean what you don’t need. These are the files you downloaded and no longer need, maybe you downloaded something twice so you have an additional copy of something you don’t need. Don’t be afraid to clean things out – if you accidentally delete something, you can retrieve it from the Recycle Bin or you can recover if you have a Backup system.

Now that you’ve cleaned up and deleted all of the unneeded files and folders, Step 3 is to move the items into their respective folders or subfolders that’s part of your permanent filing system.

I’m going to show you my file organization structure that I use for my business. I use Dropbox and highly recommend it. It’s really easy to access no matter where I’m at and also to be able to share with clients. I have it synced to my hard drive, so it’s as easy as click and drag to move files.

First, I have Team Admin at the top. These are mainly my internal operations documents such as Affiliate Information for commission payouts, job descriptions, records, reports, training that I do with my team, and SOPs.

Next is the Client folder. This will be different for everyone, but what I include in here are things that I need when working with clients, such as contracts, templates, onboarding tasks, docs that spell out your packages. In working with your actual clients, what I do is have a separate folder outside of this structure that I share with my client. It makes it much easier when it’s time to hand over client information or if you part ways.

JVs and Promos is where I keep all the files for when I do joint ventures, such as a giveaway, podcast interview, speaking gig, or anything in which you’re partnering up with someone else. I like to keep everything separate with a naming convention of the business, the person’s name, or the name of the event so that, depending on the event, I can go back and re-use a bio or what I created as a bonus perhaps.

Marketing is my biggest and most accessed folder. It contains all the information pertaining to my websites, original graphics and logos, photos, social media, Systems Sunday videos and transcripts, testimonials, stock photos, videos, and webinars. Anything to do with marketing my business goes here.

Even though photos and bio could go under Marketing, I keep Photos and Bio separate because this is where I put my current headshots and bio. It’s easy to access and I also have it linked from my Media page so anyone can access a variety of pictures.

Products folder contains all of the products that I have created for my online shop.

And Purchased folder contains all of the content that I’ve purchased to use for creating my products and programs as well as ebooks or small digital items. This would include private label rights content.

The Training Programs folder contains everything for each of my programs that I’ve created. Also, you can see that each training program has its own file structure which keeps things super organized.

Finally, I have a Work in Progress / Braindump folder for projects I want to work on and ideas. It really helps me to get it out of my hand and stored somewhere else that I can revisit.

That is the structure that I use in the one folder filing system so that you have a clean desktop and everything has its place.

There’s a lot to get you started and I wanted to make it super easy for you so I created a new downloadable that gives you a starting point in creating your own organized file structure. You can sign up right below the video and it will immediately go to your inbox.

If you enjoyed this episode and want more productivity tips and strategies, check out Top Types of Productivity Tools Business Building Action Kit. These action kits contain a full done-for-you action plan to give you guidance, resources, and keep you on track with checklists and worksheets. You can find a link to the product below or visit my VA Business Builder Boutique by clicking on Shop in the menu bar.

Join me next week when we’ll cover backup basics and contingency planning. See you then!

Catch up on other Spring Cleaning Your Cluttered Digital Space episodes + resources mentioned in the video:

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#159: Desktop Decluttering and File Organization
#159: Desktop Decluttering and File Organization

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