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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Warning: File Organization In Progress

Last week I blogged about an organizational epiphany. I started implementing it over the weekend and discovered why I couldn't find anything. OMG, files are everywhere. I mean I knew I had some of that, but I didn't know it was this bad.

Let me back up and start toward the beginning. I decided to plunge into the file organization even though I still haven't finished the article that got me thinking about this project. (I probably should.) To avoid having to redo things multiple times, I decided I needed a plan for which folders I wanted and what the hierarchy should be for nesting the folders. I found free mind mapping software, downloaded it, and began to work out my plan. It quickly became clear that the writing folders were going to be the most extensive.

When my plan was in place, I began to move folders and files. This is when I discovered I had files squirreled away in not just two places, but sometimes three, four, or even five places for the same book. It also quickly became clear that I was going to need to group files together and fine tune from there. I also discovered I had multiple copies of the same file. Mostly it was two, but there were also a couple of triplicates in there.

I knew the project would be a little time consuming, but it's turning out to be much worse than I expected. I'm still in the whacking away phase and fine tuning seems a long way off. :-( This is proof of how poor my file organization was. No wonder finding anything was a time-consuming challenge.

What I've learned?
  • I should have organized my files in a more logical manner a long, long time ago. It would have been easier. If you're procrastinating on this, I'd rethink that.
  • Planning out the folders and sub-folders ahead of time was vitally important.
  • Even with the plan, accept that some of it won't work and folders will need to be deleted, added, or revised.
  • It's time consuming and boring, so plan on doing it over a period of time rather than in one sitting.
  • The transition period is hard with files not yet in their exact and permanent location. 
I think that in the end I'm really going to love this new filing system. I can already see some of the benefits in this early part of the process, but it's going to be painful reaching the end state.