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Store everything in one place
- Why this works: Saving all of your files in one place makes it faster and easier to find what you’re looking for.
- How to do this: Pick a platform you like and that you can access easily, and stick with it. For instance, all Stanford students are given access to Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.
Create folders to organize your files
- Why this works: Imagine if you had a big binder filled with important assignments and notes, but no binder tabs to help you organize it. Folders are the digital equivalent of a binder tab, helping you to locate the exact file you’re looking for.
- How to do this: Think about the types of digital files you generally use and what system you will use to organize them. For instance, you might create a folder for each of your courses, which you can further organize by quarter and academic school year.
Make it a habit to organize new files right away
- Why this works: Having a system is all well and good, but it only works if you use it. Taking a few seconds to put a file in the proper place now saves many minutes of searching for that file later on.
- How to do this: The moment you get or create a new file, decide what folder it fits into and save it there. If it doesn’t fit into any of the folders you created, determine if you need to create a new one.
Check in to make sure your system is still in working order
- Why this works: Even the most organized people with the best intentions can sometimes get off track. Setting aside some time to go through your file system will help ensure it stays in order. It’s also a great opportunity to reflect on whether the system is still working for you.
- How to do this: At the end of every quarter, go through your file system. If anything is out of place, put it in the right spot. Reflect on what was helpful about the system and what wasn’t, so you can adjust accordingly for next quarter.