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.

HDD Folder oranization

How is everyone organizing their electronic data? I started out years ago with MS Outlook and hit the 2G limit early on so I ended up having to archive data monthly which resulted in a folder structure based around monthly archives like this:

. Jan
. Feb
. .
. .
. Dec
. Jan
. Feb

So I started following this structure and would store other files such as bank statements, pictures, invoices, etc in those folders. Problem now is finding anything I have to wait for a search to crawl through all those folders or remember when I did something or have some sort of index to it. I usually end up just hunting through the various years and months looking for what I want rather than keeping an index up to date so I'm looking for better suggestions as to how to organize inportant files.

GTD Wannabe's picture

Oh, you have so got...

Oh, you have so got to get yourself a desktop search program! Then you can let it trawl through all of your files. My personal favourite is Copernic Desktop Search, but Google and MSN both have offerings.

The neatest thing about embracing this kind of tool is that it actually changed how I reference things. I still have a strict hierarchy, e.g., My Documents\Important\My Money\Car Expenses\... but when I want to find the spreadsheet where I keep track of my maintenance costs and gas mileage, I don't open Excel and then navigate to the spreadsheet. Instead, I use CDS and search for "gas mileage". I've got a CDS search box on my tool bar, so it's easy to get to, and, the results are sorted by last accessed, so I don't have to look very far down the list (usually top one) to find my spreadsheet. Double-click and it's there in front of me. I particularly like CDS because you can tell it to search almost any kind of file, including batch files, javascript, code snippets, tex, etc. etc.

Trust me, it will change the way you think about your hard drive :)




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