Digital File Organization
Nothing gets me more excited that digital file organization.
That feeling when you know you can find anything you want…So cathartic!
So, what is digital file organization? Well, it is organizing all of those files on your computer- like Dropbox, or your Finder (Mac), Explorer (PC), etc. Personally, I work on a Mac and place my folders in Dropbox so I can access my files from my iPhone or iPad when I am on job sites.
Just for you designers, this is how I organize my design files…
Since you are all FABULOUS, I am calling my fictitious design company “Fabulous Designs“
Step 1-My Dropbox Setup
In my Dropbox, you will notice I have a “1-” in front of the company name. This is because it is the file I access the most. Once I highlight “1-Fabulous Designs,” other design business folders are pulled up.
I keep all of my folders numbered by importance/most frequently accessed (1-being the most important/most frequently used.) I know to always look at the top to find the most important files.
Step 2-Current Clients
When I highlight “1-FD Clients” (since you are FABULOUS, you only have Fabulous Design -FD- Clients!), a list of current clients shows up, again numbered from importance/most frequently used. If you want to view your files alphabetically, you can skip the number.
Personally, I don’t do the alpha for my clients, because at different times, I usually am primarily focused on the top 3 clients. The rest, are at different stages, so I don’t need to access them as often.
Step 3-Past Client Projects
I keep my closed clients with a “Z” in front. Keeping a “Closed Client” file helps me not feel overwhelmed by the number of clients. I also know that if their files are needed they are easy to get to.
If I access a closed file, I visually jump to the bottom of the page so I don’t waste time.
Step 4-Client Files
When I highlight a client, for example, “1-Smith-Laguna” all of my client files are pulled up. I have about 10 folders per client. It increases or decreases depending on the job size/length/specificity. The client files contain:
- 4-Floor Plans
- 5-Architectural Drawings
- 6-Initial Design Docs
- 8-Site Visits
- 10-Studio Images
I use PowerPoint for all of my client presentations. For new builds and large projects, I often have several different Presentations. For example:
- 3-Smith-Tile/Slab Selections
- 4-Smith-Outdoor Furnishings
It may seem redundant to have the “Smith” name in the title, but when I have several PowerPoint files open, I can tell which client the presentation is for very easily!
Step 6-Initial Design Docs
The other sections are pretty self explanatory, but “6-Initial Design Docs” is usually the same.
- 1-Smith-Signed Contract
- 2-Smith-Binder Cover Page
- 3-Smith-Client Binder Index
- 4-Smith-Client Spine Label
- 5-Smith-Inspirational Images
By now you may think I am a NUT JOB!! Haha! But, after so many years in the business, you MUST have organization!!
When you can pull a file up so easily, in front of a client and contractor, you look pretty professional:) It saves you (and your clients and contractors) time and HOURS of mental anguish trying to locate the ONE THING! Especially, when you need said "one thing" immediately- something that feels like it happens every day.
We have ALL been there. We have all been to that place where we start over on something because we can’t find it. We rely on the “search” bar for everything, but after 18 clients, it is hard to search and find anything.
So, if you aren’t very organized, try it for one client- your most important client for right now. You may want to print out your folder filing names and keep them near your computer. The way you name your files becomes second nature very quickly!
You can even use this for your email files. I use it for everything including podcasts.
Hopefully, this helps you clear up that CLUTTER! Imagine if you had a clear desktop screen!! You would be so zen when you started your day.
It's never too late to organize!
PS. Did I mention you need to do this with ONE file, now? *WINK* So, go ahead and grab the download!! xx