How to Organise Your Computer Files & Clear Your Desktop

A lot of the creatives that I know find organising their computer files a complete nightmare. In my podcast episode with Victoria Jowett, she said that her desktop was like a virtual brain dump. We’ve all been there right? The desktop area seems like a natural dumping ground. You save something there because you might need it soon but it soon gathers virtual dust there alongside a load of other files you thought you might need to find quickly.

The problem with the brain-dump-desktop is that unlike your brain, your computer doesn’t have an advanced indexing system - you have to make it yourself.

If I asked you to dip into your computer files right now and find a couple of different headshots, an invoice from last month and a copy of your logo in a couple of different file formats, would it make you come out in a cold sweat?

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Being able to find everything you need on your computer within a few clicks is also in itself a few clicks away and taking the time to get your digital files organised will pay you back 10-fold in the time and mental energy you save in the long run. I’ll talk you through it so it’s a bit less painful.

Step 1

Write down the key areas of your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started

  • Branding

  • Blog posts

  • Products

  • Suppliers

  • Marketing

  • Images

  • Finance

Step 2

Look at those key areas and decide what goes inside each one - try not to get too granular. Below is another example.

  • Branding

    • Brand style sheet

    • Font files

    • Logo files

    • Business card, Business flyer, Thank you card designs

  • Products

    • Product sales page copy

    • Product sales page images

    • Pricing spreadsheet

  • Suppliers

    • Supplier spreasheet

    • Supplier quotes and order forms

  • Marketing

    • Marketing plan spreadsheet

    • Marketing Images

    • Blog post drafts

  • Finance

    • Finance tracking software link or spreadsheet

    • Invoices

    • Tax details

Laptop on a duvet and blanket - How to organise your laptop documents

Step 3

Now, start completely fresh. Create a folder on your computer and name it your business name. Inside this folder make a folder for all of the key areas of your business you listed above. Inside those folders create the sub-folders also listed above and so on until you have a folder for each item in your list.

Step 4

Start dragging all of your documents and files from your desktop into your new folders. Make sure you clear your desktop and any other folders or files you have floating around on your computer. Drag, drop, repeat! You’ll need a cuppa and your favourite music or podcast for this bit. 

Step 5

Once you’ve sorted all of your floating files into your new folders go into each one. Do they still look really busy and messy? Ask yourself what folders you need within the folders that are looking messy.

Step 6

Back-It-up! I can’t stress this enough. I would also back it up twice. This might sound completely ridiculous but I once had a situation where my laptop and external hard drive both failed on me at the same time, the-same-time. I cried! 

My biggest hope right now is that you’re feeling seriously smug! Don’t hold back. Tell your friends how clear your desktop is, show everyone on social media just how organised you are and enjoy that smug feeling, you’ve earned it.

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