For many of us, organizing digital files is a lot like folding laundry — you mean to get around to it, but more often than not, you’re reaching into the hamper for gym clothes and pulling out a funky t-shirt from an old team-building exercise.
If your digital files are in desperate need of organization, it’s time to get down to business. Invoices, financial transactions, reports, and other critical files can pile up fast, cluttering hard drives and cloud storage to create an increasingly unmanageable mess.
Fortunately, keeping your files organized isn’t very difficult. With a bit of structure and some good habits, you can easily tame the wildest of Google Workspaces. Teamstand can both help you with your organization, and get the most out of an optimized cloud with functions like multi-platform search, quick access to recent files, file tagging, and automatic sorting.
Used in tandem, Teamstand and a more organized cloud will have a profound impact on your professional life and organizational productivity. When you and your team can quickly find the file you want, you'll all be much more efficient, with faster access to information needed to make better decisions. To get you started on a more organized digital file system, let’s consider some best practices.
Use a Strict and Specific Naming Convention
You may have gotten along just fine without formalizing a naming convention, but a smart framework for naming your files goes a long way to keeping your team organized and avoiding miscommunications. In addition to helping you quickly find what you need, a naming convention helps others more easily collaborate on the same files.
By default, programs will arrange files in alphabetical order by name. It makes sense then that the names of your files should put the most identifying information first. For example, if you’ll be searching for files by date, your file names should start with the date they were created or the date a project is due, whatever makes more sense. Your file names should also be as descriptive as possible while limiting the number of characters.
Depending on how your organization is set up, you might want to have different naming conventions for different departments or different teams. Think about the types of files you’re working with, and if you can use a single convention for all of them. If there’s an old or informal convention in place, try to make any changes feel natural.
Once you've set up a naming convention, document it for later reference — maybe in a file called README.txt.
The earlier you set up an effective naming convention, the less of a backlog of unorganized junk you'll have to deal with. If you’re receiving files from clients or others outside your company, try to get them to use the same convention.
Sticking to this habit has compounding benefits. For example, using and maintaining a good naming convention makes Teamstand even more powerful. It combines the app’s ease of use with a system that’s simple to navigate.
Use a Version Control System
A version control system helps you keep track of the different versions of a digital file. It lets you track your work and work together with other people on the same project. It’s standard to use a naming convention to indicate which version of the file is which. For example, “v1” at the end of a file name might be for version one and “v2” would be for version two.
A version control system is pretty simple and has three big advantages:
- Easy version recovery. If files are accidentally overwritten or deleted, you have an easy way to get those files back. If a file gets corrupted, you can go back to a previous working version.
- Easier testing and experimentation. Take a page out of software development and use A/B testing to try out different solutions or creative options. You could also make entire branches of solutions. A version control system also lets you combine different solutions and make something that’s more than the sum of its parts.
- Better collaboration and accountability. We tend to work better together when we know who contributed what. A version control system helps to keep everyone accountable and pulling together for the greater good.
Teamstand’s automated file collections, file tagging, and multi-platform search facilitate the use of a version control system, making its use more nimble.
Organize Folders by Department, Date, Project, Client, or Other Criteria
If your company doesn't have a consistent framework for organizing folders, you could find yourself in an extremely stressful search for critical files. For example, if you’re frantically searching through files just before a big meeting, you'll have major regrets about not having a standardized approach.
Not sure how to organize your folders? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. If you have a small or a mid-sized company, you could have one big folder system for the entire company. If you work in a large company, it might make more sense to have a system for each department or location.
Your top-level folders should cover the broadest categories, and your subfolders should get down into the nitty gritty. For example, you could have one folder covering an entire year of tax documents and subfolders for each individual month. If you don’t want to create a massive folder system just to quickly find files, Teamstand automatically creates folders based on the sender’s address and company, making it easier to track files you get from outside your organization.
Whether or not you choose to go the easier way with Teamstand, a folder system is going to be used by a lot of people in your company, and it’s a good idea to get their input on it. Talk to your people to see what everybody needs to handle their business.
Tags or Label Your Files
A tagging or labeling system uses metadata to make any search function much more powerful. Don’t know what metadata is? Don’t worry about it. All you have to do is tag files consistently. For example, you just have to tag files from sales as “Sales”. Or, here’s another great suggestion, tag files from HR as “HR.” Sounds dumb and easy, but that little bit of work really pays off later.
In Teamstand, adding tags is simple:
- Open the Teamstand side panel
- Select the file you want to tag
- Enter one or multiple tags
And that’s it! Once your files are tagged in Teamstand, you can use the app’s multi-platform search function to easily locate them.
You can also use labels in Google Workspace, but they must be enabled for your domain. That can be a lot of behind-the-scenes admin that we won’t get into here because you might want to go the better and easier route by using Teamsatand.
If you like doing things the hard way, you can add a label to a file in Google Workspace by following these steps:
- Click on the file to be labeled
- Clicking the “Info” icon
- Go to the “Labels” section of the “Details” panel
- Click “Apply Label”
- Enter the label you want to use.
You can also apply a label by right-clicking on a file, choosing “Labels” from the dropdown menu, and clicking “Apply Label.”
To search for labeled files in Google Workspace, simply select “Labels” from the dropdown menu in the Search box.
Teamstand Makes Organization Much, Much Easier
Glad you made it through all that! With all due respect to Google, why not let Teamstand organize your digital files in a way that’s automatic and personal?
With its unified, multi-platform search, auto-generated folders, and tagging system, Teamstand greatly simplifies file organization and file search. As a Chrome extension, Teamstand also presents documents in a convenient side panel, bringing your files to where you’re already working. Our app makes it easy to answer questions like "where can I find the latest..." or "can you resend me that..." Teamstand also makes it easier to share documents, manage client deliverables, use version control, and prepare for meetings.
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