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Spring cleaning time!

With the change in seasons, I thought it might be a good time to talk about organising and sorting your digital filing.

When considering lean methodologies and the office, time spent looking for lost files can be a BIG waste of time that needs to be dealt with. So, we look at the first two of the 5S’s of lean:

  1. Sort.

  2. Set in order.

Hunting for hours on end for that file you need, getting distracted by something else along the way and forgetting what you were doing in the first instance is something that we all need to avoid.

When thinking about your digital filing system, consider creating naming conventions for your files, make them descriptive and concise. Create some sort of standardised naming convention to follow (guess what to Standardise is the 4th “S” of lean).

For example:

  • Meeting Minutes – Board – DD.MM.YYYY

  • Agenda – X Subcommittee – DD.MM.YYYY

If you name your files well, it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember the file path to locate them, because you will be able to use the search feature successfully instead.

When thinking of your folder structure, think about how you can best segment them, what makes the most sense for you. Keeping in mind that you don’t want too many folder layers because you will face errors if the file path exceeds a certain length.

In the book, The Hamster Revolution by Mike Song, et al. it talks about a folder system called COTAP.

Stating that everyone’s files fall into one of five categories, everyone has:

C – Clients (Internal and External)

O – Outputs

T – Teams

A – Admin

P - Personal

It may be helpful to follow this folder system and create relevant subfolders within these main folders for your files. Or totally make up something else that suits you better.

The last thing that may be helpful in each of your folders, create a folder called “The General” for when you don’t know exactly where to put something, it goes in the general folder.

Don’t be afraid to delete anything old and irrelevant, wading your way through old, irrelevant, and obsolete files adds time and effort to your search.

If you are not sure if something can be deleted, create an Archive folder, and move the file in to there, once a year check out that folder, if you haven’t needed that file, you may be able to delete it.

Happy filing!

Remember cleaning, sorting, and organising is good for the soul! Or is that just my happy place???