Ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done? You’re not alone. For many business owners, every day is a battle against the to-do list. And winning that battle requires creative solutions that help you streamline your work and get things done more efficiently. That’s where file organization comes in.
A disorganized filing system isn’t doing you any favors. Every minute you spend trying to track down an invoice or a product order is time that could be spent doing something more productive. Because of that, it’s worth putting in the time and resources now to get your files organized and synced so that when you do need to pull a file, you know exactly where and how to find it.
Below, we’ll cover some basic file organization tips for syncing and everyday efficiency to help you do more with your day.
But first: a word on syncing
File-syncing is a tool used by business owners and other professionals to connect two or more files so that when one is updated, the others are updated by the same rules. It’s also used as a way to ensure that files are widely accessible across devices and cloud drives. This is a fundamental task for business owners, especially those whose businesses encompass various sites and computer systems.
So what’s the connection between file organization and syncing? It’s simple: if you want to sync, or if you’re already syncing but want to maximize your file-syncing utility, your first step should be to put in a place a comprehensive filing organization system. Here’s how to do it.
Tip 1 for file organization: Figure out a grouping system and stick with it.
Your file organization efforts are only going to be as effective as your commitment to a standard grouping system. And how you organize your folder groupings matters a lot less than the fact that you do it in the first place.
Your folder system will generally be guided by the type of business that you do. That might mean you group by client, by product, by department, or by month and year (or any other category grouping that makes sense to you).
If your business has multiple locations, you can separate them out under each major category heading. The important thing is to create a grouping system that’s followed across systems and users so that no matter where your files live, they’re all abiding by the same general organizational structure.
Tip 2 for file organization: Embrace the subfolders.
The more specific you can be with your subfolders, the easier it’s going to be to find your files and sync them together. So if, for example, you decide to make your lead category Products, your subfolder system within that heading might look something like this:
Product > Location > Year > Month > Client
The smart use of subfolders allows you to quickly follow the path of the file you’re looking for so that you spend less time searching in irrelevant places.
Tip 3 for file organization: Be specific with your labels.
An effective labeling system allows you to scan for what you need without having to open and close individual files. You don’t want long file names that are difficult to follow, but you do want a distinct method of labeling that identifies files on title alone. Consider invoices: You could just label each one with their invoice number, or, you could label each one:
“ClientName-InvoiceNumber-MM/DD/YY,” or: “BusinessStore-Invoice146-122518.”
You’ll convey a whole lot more information without a whole lot more effort. Use dashes to separate the sections of your labels instead of just stringing them all together so that they’re easier to read.
Tip 4 for file organization: Separate drafts from final work.
You may have five draft versions of a document that lead up to a final copy. Make sure that you don’t accidentally pull a draft when you intend to pull a final copy by creating a distinct place for your drafts to live. This usually means creating a “Drafts” folder within your final sub-folder in a category grouping where you can store works in progress.
This way, you’ll know what’s final and what’s not, and you won’t have to second guess whether the file you’re looking for is the most up-to-date version available.
You can’t create more hours in your day, but you can work more productively so that you get more done in the time you have. Taking the time to organize your files better is beneficial for you, the business owner, but it’s also beneficial for standardizing how files are managed across sites and staff members. It makes it easier to scale and grow, too.
Ready to get more out of your files? Learn about SuperSync, the software that allows you to sync your files quickly and securely without even having to think about it.