How to Organize Files and Folders for Maximum Productivity

organize files and folders

Do you dump files on your desktop when you download things? Is your Documents folder willed with all sorts of files? Is your music all over the place? If yes and you’re a freelancer, then you really should organize files and folders on your computer to improve your productivity. Read on to find out what you can do.

Why You Should Organize Your Files

If you’re a freelancer working from home and a parent, then freeing up time is a constant battle. Your work needs you and your child needs you, so you really need to find that work-family balance. As a freelancer, you don’t need to sit in an office for eight hours a day and the time you spend working is really up to you. What I mean is that you’ll have a lot more time for your children and other stuff if you work more productively. And a disorganized computer keeps you from maximizing your productivity.

Imagine that you live in a house where things are all over the place. Say, one of your socks is on the windowsill and its pair is in a drawer. Your jeans are in the washing machine and your jacket is at the neighbour’s. You get the idea and I’m sure it sounds just as terrible to you as it does to me. You wouldn’t keep your house that way. But we all do that to our computers. So, here are my tips that will help you organize your digital stuff.

How I Organize Files and Folders on My Mac

After trying different filing methods, I’ve settled for organizing my folders by subject and then by date. By the way, I keep all my work files in Dropbox for easy access from anywhere and for backup and version history purposes. I also encrypt important files to be on the safe side.

In my Dropbox folder, I have a “Clients” folder where I have subfolders with client names. In these subfolders, I either organize more subfolders by date (year – month) or by task types. This lets me easily find everything I need.

I also have a folder called “Articles” where I have subfolders for Constant Content and other websites where I sell articles. Like my “Clients” folder, this folder has year – month subfolders for easy file management.

How I Organize Photos and Videos

Well, to be honest, it’s the same system although I group photos by event, place and then by date. For example, I have a subfolder called “Travel” in my Pictures folder and there I have subfolders for each country I visited. Then there are subfolders labeled by date and sometimes there are subfolders for particular cities (San Francisco and Tel Aviv earned their own subfolders).

Organized? Now Delete Duplicate Files

OK, now that you found a system to organize files and folders and you stick to that system, it’s time to get rid of the junk. By junk I mean duplicate files. We all have them, so no need to pretend that you don’t need to deal with them. In theory, you could try to find and delete duplicates without any software. But that’s ineffective and stupid because you’d spend hours looking for file copies and you’ll definitely delete something you need by accident. So, it’s best to use a duplicate file finder. Here are some options for PC and Mac:

  • Easy Duplicate Finder – a really powerful and intuitive app for both Windows and Mac. Lots of options, scan modes, and perfect accuracy. It has a Folder Comparison mode too, which is perfect if you want to merge folders and keep only original files.
  • Gemini – a nice and easy to use Mac duplicate finder
  • Auslogics Duplicate File Finder – a basic free duplicate finder for Windows
  • Duplicate Photo Cleaner – my favourite program for finding duplicate photos and managing similar images. It’s full of options and is very easy to use too. Available for Windows and Mac.
  • CCleaner – this popular Windows and Mac cleanup tool has a very basic duplicate finder. Be careful with it, though, because it can only compare file names (not file content like the apps above)

I really recommend that you run a duplicate finder on a regular basis. You’ll be amazed how much space you can recover by simply deleting file copies you don’t need.

Keep Things Organized

And last but not least, once you’ve organized files and folders on your computer, try to keep things that way and don’t start dumping files on your desktop again!

If you’re looking for more productivity tips and fantastic productivity apps, check out this post I wrote for my copywriting blog.

How do you organize files and folders on your computer? Let us know in your comments!

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