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Naming project support files

Quick GTD bagatelle. I’ve started keeping all my one-page, per-project support files in the same folder as my GTD lists. I still use “@” as prefix for contextual lists, but now I use “&” to indicate a support file. E.g.

  • @nextActions
  • @waiting
  • @someday
  • @agendaRoderick
  • &43F_Ideas
  • &5ives_Ideas
  • &Foo_Client_Project

Makes for easier sorting, nice visual scanning, and the ability to quickly pluck out hot topics on either your horizontal or vertical radar screen. (Although I’m open to a nominee for a better symbol.)

Dan Hartung's picture

Of course the special characters...

Of course the special characters are just a text-only variation on sorting by icons -- or keywords.

I'm old school -- I still remember being limited to 8.3 filenames, and the hacks that people -- especially WordPerfect users, in those days the greatest creators of distinct files requiring their own names -- would go through to cram information into that short string. (In a way, it's still with us, as that .3 portion is used by Windows to sort files by application; there's no equivalent of the Apple resource fork, alas, although Windows apps today are miles ahead of their forebears in being able to handle unexpected data. But, I digress.) Then you had the decision about putting information that would tell you what the file was, versus putting information that the program could alphabetize went showing the file list. (Of course, both WP and Word eventually had file metadata fields you could populate, but there was no standardization and 95% of users have no idea the feature exists.) I still think it's a lousy compromise, so that tells you what I think about this, in a way.

Now, if Windows had a 'search in folder' field something like Firefox's new 'search in page' feature, that would allow you to use a variety of keywords, flickr/etc. style, to tag those GTD lists appropriately for sorting and finding them in a variety of ways. There have been filename annotators out there (e.g. Lotus Magellan) that have permitted something like this over the years, but they never seem to last. Maybe a way to color code file icons, the way you can color-code e-mail ...

I guess I'm not objecting to the GTD list approach, here, so much as the idea of implementing it in flat files awkwardly managed within folders. I'm just not sure I think the interface is sufficiently robust. Or do people have ways to mitigate that, bouncing off my ideas above?




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