First, a disclaimer.
I’m not a professional organizer by any means.
These ladies are simply fabulous. Their professional services are well worth the investment.
However, if you ever wish you could better organize your online files, my hunch is something I recently did in my own business could help you – especially if you’re just starting your business.
Learn more about this article in this short video:
And, here’s the rest of the article in written form:
Here’s some context. I’m switching from PC to an iMac. I have about five years of electronic business files on my PC laptop to migrate to the iMac.
Usually I’m a pretty organized person but I saw an opportunity to clean things up before moving everything over. I knew there were ways to make things flow better for me in my business, saving me many hours in the future.
I cleaned up my electronic files myself and was intentional about spending my own time on it. However, you may want to hire a professional organizer or administrative assistant to help you – and that’s a smart investment!
Here are 5 steps to clean up your own electronic files:
1. Create high-level categories.
What are the main categories for your business and personal life? Make a list. You’re welcome to use my own categories if helpful:
• 1 – Marketing & Sales
• 2 – Programs & Services
• 3 – Operations & Planning
• 4 – Finance & Legal
• 5 – Resources & Topics
• 6 – My Own Growth
• 7 – Personal & Parenting
Do you see the numbers before each main name? I did that because I want the files to display in that order, rather than show up alphabetically.
2. Create subcategories.
Then, make a list of subcategories for each of your main categories. What types of things will naturally fall in each of your main electronic folders? Here are some subcategories from my example:
• 1 – Marketing & Sales, e.g. freebies, ideal client, joint ventures, social media,
• 2 – Programs & Services, e.g. 1-1 coaching, corporate consulting, group programs
• 3 – Operations & Planning, e.g. business planning, productivity, technology
• 4 – Finance & Legal, e.g. budget & expenses, contracts & agreements, corporate documents, credentials
• 5 – Resources & Topics, e.g. blogging, branding, copywriting, facilitation, sales, speaking
• 6 – My Own Growth, e.g. corporate experience, transition from corporate, early entrepreneurship
• 7 – Personal & Parenting, e.g. family, our son, etc.
In the “resources & topics” folder, I included online programs I’ve purchased and filed them by topic, like blogging and copywriting, etc. Now, when I need to go back to those resources, it’s super easy to find them.
3. Create the next level when needed.
Lastly, make a next level of subcategories where necessary to go one level deeper. For example, “website” is quite broad. Under website, I created some file folders like: blog, web copy, design, images, photos and testimonials.
4. Clean up and move your electronic files.
Lastly, you’ll need to move your electronic files into your new file folders. You’ll want to move many documents as is. Others you’ll want to delete because they’re irrelevant or duplicates. Others you may want to combine or clean up. Take the time to move the right files so you only keep what you need.
5. You don’t have to do this yourself!
Now, if the first four steps feel daunting to you, pay attention to that feeling. Remember you don’t need to do this all yourself. There are people who specialize in doing this kind of thing and can do it less time it will take you. Plus, they probably even enjoy strategically organizing electronic files. This would be a great project for a professional organizer or an administrative assistant to do for you.
Create a filing system that make sense – and you’re welcome to borrow my example from above – and then step aside and let your professional use her talents to your advantage. Once she’s done, you might have a bit of polishing to do, but it shouldn’t take you long to finish up. And, if you’d rather do the clean up yourself, that’s okay too, just be intentional about how you want to spend your time.
It’s Your Turn.
What are your own tips to keep your electronic files de-cluttered and working for you? And, for any professional organizers out there, what advice can you share with women who’d like to clean up their electronic files? Please share your advice in a comment below.
P.S. Get my help to get clarity on what’s next in your business and walk away with your exact next step to LEAP your business forward. Apply for your complimentary strategy session here: http://nadinenicholson.com/strategy-session/.