By the
Mind Tools
Editorial Team

Managing Electronic Files

Efficient File Management

© iStockphoto

Are you struggling to organize your electronic files?

Have you ever sat with your boss looking over your shoulder, while you search for a missing email that she needs right now? Or have you kept a client waiting on the phone for several minutes, while you hunted for a status report?

If you have, it doesn't matter how organized and effective you are in your day-to-day work; your boss and your client will not be impressed. And, if it's your job to help people, how much of other people's time are you wasting if you can't find the information they need, when they need it?

These are just a few reasons why it's so important to manage your files effectively. This article looks at how you can do this.

The Problem with Poor File Management

On a typical workday, you probably deal with many different files. Data can pour in from all directions, some of which you'll need to store to use at a later point in time.

All too often, though, you can waste your own and other people's time hunting for data that's right there, on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. This causes stress, and makes you look unprofessional.

Also, if you use a shared server or drive, it's essential to organize electronic files well. If you don't label and store files sensibly, you'll confuse other people, and you'll waste their time as well as your own.

Using Hierarchical Directory Structures

Let's start by looking at using hierarchical directory structures to manage your electronic files efficiently and effectively.

With this approach, you store all documents and files related to a particular project, person or thing in...

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