43 Folders

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

What is the best way to organize folders on my computer?

I think this counts as a "productivity" question, because I find myself getting bogged down rummaging through my files trying to find what I need.

In the past I have set a directory structure under My Documents like so:

My Documents

This has changed over the years and I've added to it and have so much stuff in certain places that I can't combine similar items. I don't know what I am really trying to ask. What do you think is the proper, most efficient, way to organize your personal files on a computer? Keep in mind that I don't care about where things are installed. This is strictly about data. So in the example above, my software folder keeps backup disc images of software, games, etc. It also contains downloaded software such as drivers, install files, etc. The audio and video keep mp3s, movies, tv shows and various clips.

If you know of a better way, I'm all ears. How do you organize your files?


DStaub11's picture

My data is all in...

My data is all in My Documents, sorted topically. I have multiple businesses and interests and projects; each area has a folder with subfolders. For instance: Indexing/Jobs, Indexing/Invoices, Indexing/Publisher information; Art/Shows, Art/Promotional Materials, Art/Finished Pieces, etc. I don't distinguish between personal and business (they're all home businesses). I have folders for older-generation relatives for whom I produce computer things. GTD stuff is in Organization. New interest, new folder. I rarely have trouble finding things, and use Windows search when necessary.

Speaking of appreciating Windows search, until the recent days of page proofs on PDF (not yet universal), my indexing work DOES require me to search 400 hard-copy pages for one appearance of a particular phrase, missed in the first read-through...Yikes!

Do Mi




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