When you’re looking for files, going through a disorganized laptop or computer can be a total waste of time. In fact, a McKinsey report found that some professionals end up spending almost two hours a day just perusing documents and searching for information. Those are valuable minutes that could have been spent in a more productive manner.
So if you want to make the most out of your time, it helps to have all your files and documents sorted out. From deleting unwanted files to getting an external drive, here are some ways to organize your folders.
Find and delete duplicates
Whether you saved it in two different locations, accidentally downloaded the file twice, or simply have multiple “updated” versions of a file you’re working on, you’d be surprised at how many copies of the same files you may have. The easiest way to find them is to get a duplicate finder like Cisdem. This program scans your computer for similar files, lets you see all the dupes, and allows you to select the ones you want to delete.
Clear your downloads folder
From pictures you forgot to transfer out, to .dmg/.exe installer files you forgot to remove, the downloads folder is almost as bad as an unempty trash or recycle bin. The fastest way to clear it is to open the folder, sort the files by category, and go through each one. Start deleting the file types you’ve only used or seen once like installers, .txt, and setup programs. Leave photos, videos, music, documents, and other personal file types last. You will want to look at these individually.
Never save files on your desktop
To avoid scrolling through folders to get to their files, people have the tendency to save them on their desktop instead. However, not only is this counterproductive when looking for files, but it also slows down your computer. Tech experts on Lifewire suggest that each time your OS boots, extra memory is used to locate and display all your desktop files. To prevent this, sort your files in folders and use those as desktop shortcuts instead. The fewer icons you have on screen, the better.
Get external drives
To keep your computer clean, consider moving some of your files to an external drive. HP notes how there are two drives to choose from: a solid state drive (SSD) or hard disk drive (HDD). The SSD is what laptop memory is usually made of, so it’s much more reliable in terms of speed, performance, and durability. It’s a good option if you don’t want to store (and run) heavy files on your computer, like programs and games. The HDD, on the other hand, has a bigger storage capacity and is much more affordable. However, it’s really just meant for storage and cannot run stored programs.
Store files on Cloud
The cloud is basically an online version of an HDD, but more accessible and much cheaper than a physical drive. Most services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and File Sync give the first 2GB or so for free before they start charging for extra storage space. Since you need time to upload, it’s best used for smaller files like photos, videos, and MS documents.
From being able to locate your files quicker to enjoying a faster OS, you’ll find that a cleaner computer will make your digital experience much better.
On the other hand, if you need tips on how to organize your physical workspace, check out our post on ‘4 Tips to Help Simplify Office Management’.