Autumn Cleaning In Your Computer
As a freelancer, your computer is your portable office. It has your work, your contacts, your billing details and so many other important things that you need every day. And just like a brick and mortar office, it gets cluttered over time. You have completed projects, proposals that never came through, bits and pieces of ideas that you may need sometimes, but not right now.
Even the tidiest person can get lost after a while in folders, sub-folders and sub-sub-folders. As a rule of the thumb, if it takes more than 5 minutes to locate a certain document, or if you need to click through more than 2 folder branches, your computer is way too cluttered.
Since it’s autumn and everyone does the quarterly major house cleaning, it is time to do the same for your computer. Let’s see how that works and what are the simplest ideas to have your work up to date and accessible anytime.
Let’s get our computer cleaned up!
1. Completed projects
You keep them because you’ve “just” finished working on them, and maybe the client wants extra work done. But they are over 2 months old. You need to archive them. In order to do so, choose either an archive system in cloud storage, or back them up on DVDs. Create a simple and easy to follow labeling system. Maybe create a file where you write down every archived project and where to locate it. But don’t keep in you computer indefinitely.
2. Work in progress
Keep it in separate folders, per project, or per client (if you do several projects for the same client). Keep track of various versions of a document in an intuitive way. Do not keep adding dates and “revision” after the original file name until it exceeds the width of your monitor (I’ve seen such cases). As soon as a version becomes obsolete, move it to a separate folder, and when the project is finally done, delete it.
3. Bits of ideas
Copywriters call them “Swipe files”. Graphic designers call them whatever they want. But they are scattered everywhere. It’s either a cool idea that never was quite adequate for any project so far. Or it’s a long series or proposals sent to clients who rejected them. It’s OK to hang on to them, just organize them in a library, by themes, archive it in a way that makes them easily accessible, and free up some disk space.
Now, that looks almost like a brand new computer!
It is not hard to be organized. Once you set your mind to creating a filing and archiving system and you follow through with it for a few weeks, it becomes second nature to make sure you have your work properly stored for future reference and your computer well organized and with sufficient space to operate properly.