When you’ve decided to improve your time management skills, consider the following scenario. Wow. I sure have a lot of saved email. Let’s see. Where is that email with my Username in it? Have you ever asked yourself that question? I have. Far too many times. Then I would search and search for keywords in the subject line or text that might be in the body, all in hopes that I would find that one email with my Username in it for that account that I signed up for three years ago and, and, and ahh!!!
I’d always end up sending a request for a new listing of used lawn tractors, which, if you’ve ever done that, isn’t necessarily the easiest or best thing to do. What is the easiest thing to do, then, when you’re trying to lay your fingers on a certain email or computer file? Simple organization of your electronic files will save you tons of time, frustration and money. It’s a simple time management technique, too.
As a writer, I’m continually getting new ideas for stories, screenplays, products, and so on. I used to jot down some notes on the idea, a name or title for it and the date, then save it as a file in a folder named Ideas. Sounds good, right? It could have been, however, I had an Idea folder right off my root directory. Of course, I had a folder named Steve, too.
And as a subfolder under that I had a folder named yep, you guessed it Ideas. It turns out I had about four or five Idea folders scattered all over my hard drive. I also had folders named Screenplays, Books and Short Stories. There were also folders for product ideas and music ideas and How to Save the World ideas! Okay, you get the idea. Here’s how I consolidated that mess.
The first thing I did was to delete all the Idea folders except for one. Under that one I created subfolders for each of the main ideas (screenplays, products) and one named Miscellaneous. Surprisingly enough, I don’t have many files in that folder. Now all of my files pertaining to any idea whatsoever were all neatly tucked away under one directory.
I did a similar thing with all of my legal documents, personal correspondence, photos, etc. You may think that you need to create a new file for every little thing such as that paper about ‘do female cats spray’. But you’d be surprised at how much you can consolidate files together. You don’t need 500 different categories in your life. For most of us, what we store on our computers is very similar and only requires a few categories, or folders on your computer.
Organizing your saved emails is equally important and just as easy. For me, I have folders named: Utilities; Writing; Credit Cards; Personal; Purchases and so on. It makes it easy to quickly lay my hands on a specific email, so when I need to log into my electric company account to see when a payment is due, first I light a candle just kidding! I just open the Utilities folder and find my original registration email from SoCal Edison within a few seconds.
For many of us, especially those who are new to the world of computing and email, organizing files and folders is about as foreign as can be. But don’t be intimidated. It’s just an electronic filing cabinet, that’s all. Organize it accordingly.