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organising computer - how to??

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  • organising computer - how to??

    I've just recently released that one area of my life that I haven't organised and streamlined is my computer - I have files (videos, music, ebooks) and folders all over the place and I often lose track of things on my pc

    any suggestions on how to organise my computer GTD style?

  • #2
    As a general answer to your question, I think it is better to put everything into one folder and let a search function find things for you rather than having a very complex heirarchy of folders to categorize everything.

    Of course, there are limits to this such as you still want to have your runnable program files separate from data files and you may want to keep your photos separate, too. It can also be helpful to settle on a meaningful file naming scheme. I also like to have different computer users keep their stuff separate from each other.

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    • #3
      Use a Briefcase

      I have a folder on my hard drive call 'Briefcase'

      Ths folder sits under c:\, and contains various folders - @Action, Entertainment, Templates, Work etc.

      I then synchronise this folder across my home PC, work PC and Laptop, using FolderShare by Microsoft. This keeps the Briefcase synchronised across all three machines, so I can save something into the briefcase on one machine, and know it will be replicated anywhere between 30 seconds and 5 minutes later.

      This way, I don't need to worry about files being on different PCs that I'm not sitting in front of.

      cheers

      Nick

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      • #4
        ^^^^

        thanks for the input

        I'm not too concerned about sharing my files across computers, what I am concerned about though is having 40+ gigs of "stuff" and in a years time doubling that. I would like all my files to be organised into appropriate folders and all the junk deleted.

        I guess I could use the same principles as paper filing but I would love to hear more input from those who have more suggestions, particularly about categories so I can avoid having 1000+ separate folders on my pc.

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        • #5
          There are basically two ways to organize a computer:

          * Treat it as you would a paper filing system, and maintain it yourself. That means setting up a folder system AND purging it periodically.

          OR

          * Dump it all in one big folder and let the computer itself organize it for you. This has become more practical as desktop search tools have improved and available disk space has grown.

          40+ GB of stuff is not actually all that much these days, but when you realize that the complete works of Shakespeare come to less than a million words (1 MB), you start to understand just how much information 40 GB is. Before computers, organizing that many words would have put you well into professional librarian territory.

          I use a combination of the two methods. I cluster files by application or project (depending on the file). I try to give files reasonably intuitive names. And then I depend on the desktop search to actually find stuff when I need it.

          Katherine

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          • #6
            ^^^

            thanks for you input- solid advice!

            anyone else?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by stayfly View Post
              thanks for you input- solid advice!

              anyone else?
              However you organize your data. Don't forget to do your backups regularly and store them in a save place. Harddiskcrashes, housefires and burglars exist. They don't appear often, but if you are their victim it is to late to do the backups.
              If you do the backup bear addressbook an bookmarks in mind.

              Yours
              Alexander

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              • #8
                Folder structures

                On my server, the top-level folder structure looks like this:

                1) documents.uptodate
                Stuff I keep up to date. My profile, CV, e.g.

                2) documents.unique
                Stuff that is edited just once. Letters, e.g. Has subfolders 2007, 2006, 2005, ...

                3) projects.running
                Every project has a separate folder [start date][project name], e.g.: "2007-04-12 Website Redesign"

                4) projects.closed
                Archive for 3), I move folders here after project completion.

                5) pictures
                Pictures we took. Subfolders are named [date][event or location], e.g.: "2007-05-11 to 2007-06-01 Crete"

                6) pictures.from.friends.and.family
                Pictures we received. Same subfolder structure as 5)

                7) videos
                Our videos. Same subfolder structure as in 5)

                videos.from.friends.and.family
                Videos we received. Same subfolder structure as in 5)

                When you use the ISO 8601 date format (yyyy-mm-dd) you can sort the folders by name and the list will preserve the chronological order.

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                • #9
                  I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that well over 90% of your storage requirements are taken up by Video and Music material and the vast majority of that is video material. Photographs can also be very data intensive to store. If you choose the setting that sorts files by file size, you will quickly see what your big rocks are. Focus on these items first. You may be able to quickly delete five unwanted items and cut your storage requirements in half.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Barry View Post
                    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that well over 90% of your storage requirements are taken up by Video and Music material and the vast majority of that is video material. Photographs can also be very data intensive to store. If you choose the setting that sorts files by file size, you will quickly see what your big rocks are. Focus on these items first. You may be able to quickly delete five unwanted items and cut your storage requirements in half.
                    does that mean I have to delete my porn??

                    haha, just playing

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                    • #11
                      For project support and reference stuff, I use 3 folders: "Active", "Someday-Maybe" and "Archive".

                      Pics and video? Picasa is great for finding stuff and providing a single interface to organize, print, edit, email etc.

                      WinDirStat is a nice, free utility that gives you a visual of what is taking up space on your hard drive.

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                      • #12
                        Use a simple folder structure that makes sense, and then don't worry about it. Because if you get Google Desktop (or use spotlight on a Mac) you shouldn't have any problem finding what you need.

                        And if you are running out of space...just buy an external harddrive. I just bought a Lacie 2d 160 GB for about $220 CAD - just for my photos!!!

                        I'm all set!

                        Good luck....

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                        • #13
                          Your computer is full of inboxen

                          I'm regularly surprised by just how many inboxen there are on my computer. The most obvious is my email inbox, which I regularly fight down to zero items. Here are some of the others:
                          • My browser tabs. I use Firefox with the Tab Mix Plus extension, which can remember all of your tabs and windows between sessions. Tabs can build up to dozens over just a week. That ends up being another inbox. Why is this tab open? What action am I supposed to take?
                          • My RSS reader. I need to process the new items. I should also process the feeds every now and again. Why am I still subscribed to this?
                          • My other email. I use a web based email service. I'm not as diligent about emptying it as I am my work inbox. To Do: hit the GTD Connect Intention Journal with a reminder about that.
                          • My downloads list. Opening it gets slower and slower as it fills, thanks to virus scanning. Now, each download is a to-do: I presume I downloaded it to either look at it or install it. Some of them, I've done. Others, I've forgotten about. Have I dealt with that yet? If not, what am I going to do with it?

                          I'm sure you can find your own electronic clutter. Disk space is cheap. Brain space is expensive. Hunt those open loops wherever they hide!

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                          • #14
                            I recommend a good search tool and saving files in project folders. I like X1 on my TabletPC and on my Mac I use the built-in one to find stuff.

                            - Steve

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