Pro Tips for Organizing Your Electronic Records

A lot of time is spent sorting (and looking for) records on the computer. However, there are good methods to finding them. We take a look around the issue.

Keep the desktop empty
You files should all be stored in folders, which are stored in a large Documents parent folder. There is no reason to bury your computer’s desktop. You will find it much more reassuring to open your screen every day to see a nice smooth image, devoid of the tide of disparate and disorganized files through which you once waded.

A parent folder to house all the others
This parent folder, rather than only existing on your computer’s hard drive, would benefit from being in the cloud (on a platform such as Google Drive). You will have access to it everywhere and at any time. If your computer breaks, it will be a relief to find all your electronic documents there. Also consider activating the option to synchronize your web storage platform with your computer so the files are stored in both places at once.

Broad categories
Think first about having 3 or 4 main categories that can hold your records. On your personal computer, for example, there could be a major category for your personal files, another for work, another for music and entertainment. These major categories are not too specific but must remain general, but they all first-level categorizing.

Create folders and subfolders
Within a broad category there are many folders and subfolders. The idea is to proceed according to the funnel principle, from the most general to the most precise. For a paralegal, a folder named Clients will include subfolders with the name of each client, which could contain other subfolders sorted by year, for example. Don’t be afraid to multiply the subfolders if they are needed, but avoid doing so endlessly. It’s a matter of balance.

Number your folders and files
This will make them appear in the order you want rather than in alphabetical order. So in the Finances subfolder, you know that the subfolder that you most frequently consult is Taxes, give it the number 1. It will position itself at the very top of the list of subfolders.

Name folders and files accurately
One tip: be concise but detailed. Easier said than done, agreed! This is usually achieved by manipulating vocabulary. Don’t write “school material”, but “school”. Use abbreviations as much as possible, as long as you are sure that you will remember what they mean.

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