Digital Disorganization - Are you in Danger of Losing Data?
Be honest, how easy is it for you to locate digital files on your computer or server at work? How much time has been wasted looking for files that you knew were there....somewhere? Just like paper files, your digital files also need a well-organized system or “structure.” You need this structure not only so you know where to file a document, but also where to retrieve a document. Your digital filing system is just as much of a filing system as it is a retrieval system.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself or others in your organization about your digital filing structures:
1.If I save documents to my “desktop” – are my files being backed up?
You might be surprised as this answer – as most IT departments only back up files saved to the server. If you can’t answer this question with a definitive YES, ask. You don’t want to lose files you are storing on your desktop. If you run your own business, when was the last time you did a checkup on your backups? Is everything being backed up that you need?
In the past couple of months, I have personally worked with at least three organizations where employees were not aware that files and folders full of files were not backed up that they stored for ‘easy’ access on their desktop – which leads me to my next question.
2. WHY do you store files on your desktop?
Some of the answers I’ve heard recently are:
“It’s the quickest way for me to find them.”
“Because I’m afraid that if I store them someplace else I won’t remember where they are.”
“Because I’m not sure where to store them.”
My advice….if there is a good system/structure in place, you will be able to find them, but it’s going to take some work and time.
3. How do you create this structure and begin to put a system in place?
There are several things you need to consider; here are a few to get you started:
a. Does your organization have a document retention policy? Just as every company should have one for their paper files, you should also have one for your digital files. Even though space is inexpensive these days doesn’t mean you need to keep everything. If you don’t know the answer to this question, ask.
b. Does your organization use version control and employ consistent naming conventions for documents? For example, each time you or a co-worker modifies a document, is your first action to do File Save As and create the next version of the document? If not, how do you know what the most current version is you need to use?
For example, if we are working on a Productivity Assessment or Organizational Plan for a company or individual, the naming convention and version might look something like this:
Organizational Plan v8 9.10.16 OR
Productivity Assessment v2 8.8.16
By incorporating the “version” of the plan with the “v” and the next incremental number you are always assured to grab the most recent copy of the document. By including a date on the plan, you know the date this version was created. Of course this also assumes that you and others keep all copies of the document in the same folder.
c. Can you eliminate older versions of documents that are complete? If a project is complete or final, you can add the word FINAL to the name of the file and then likely remove the previous versions unless there is a financial or legal implication that precludes you from removing them. See Question #1.
Productivity Assessment 9.12.16 FINAL
Tips for Effective Document Management
by Malia Fazzio – Sr. Productivity Specialist, Eliminate Chaos
1. Make document management part of the individual’s job description. 2.Set up a clear retention policy that is communicated regularly. 3. Have individuals schedule digital file clean-up as an event on their calendar; timing depending upon their specific needs. 4. Train new employees/contractors and regularly update all employees/contractors in the retention policy and management. 5. Do not destroy documents at the first sign of an investigation by regulatory agencies or of litigation. 6. Establish someone as the ‘librarian’ that can monitor regularly the share drive and champion the retention policy. Regularly review and update the policy, communicating changes, and scheduling regular clean-up events, if applicable.
Back Up Recommendations
If you own a small business and need to ensure your computers are backed up, you might want to look into OpenDrive. It is a cloud-based backup system that we use with several of our clients. We aren’t compensated to tell you this, think of it as some of our expert, FREE consulting advice from our IT Specialist, Robert Leist.
Until Next Time
In the next issue of our newsletter we will dive deeper into the HOW. In other words, what the process looks like. Because this may seem like a monumental task, it's one reason why companies don’t make the time for this much needed project. You may want to consider the thousands of dollars that will be saved when employees are not spending their time searching for documents or recreating documents that could not be found.
~ Making You More Productive - so you have More Time for Life®
Warmly, Laura Leist, CPO, MOS CPO = Certified Professional Organizer MOS = Microsoft Office Specialist
NEW! Public Seminars in September and October
You asked and we've listened - you want a public seminar you can attend to become more proficient with Outlook and/or OneNote - two tools that can increase your productivity at work as well as help you keep information at your fingertips. These are the first two seminars we are offering this fall. Be sure to register NOW if you want to reserve your space as we are capping each class at 10 people so everyone will get personal attention. Your investment is a fraction of what it would cost you to spend an hour with one of us and yet we will share our best material with you. Microsoft Outlook Productivity Hacks. Date: September 29, 2016 Time: 10 to 11:30 am Place: World Trade Center - Seattle Waterfront Register: Click HERE to register. ONLY 10 seats available.
OneNote: Getting Started with Digital Notebooks. Date: October 27, 2016 Time: 10 to 11:30 am Place: World Trade Center - Seattle Waterfront Register: Click HERE to register. ONLY 10 seats available.
If you are unable to attend or would like to bring one of these programs to your office, please call us at 425.670.2551 or 877.342.8592. We offer the same programs to companies and they can also be customized if needed for your employees. Stay tuned for our next class offereings which will include topics such as:
Passwords at Your Fingertips-Anytime, Anywhere & From Any Device - with Robert Leist
Cyber Security Essentials for Protecting Your Digital Identity - with Robert Leist
Eliminate Chaos Productivity and IT Services
Outlook Productivity Consulting & Training
OneNote Consulting & Training
Digital File Organization
Business Contact Manager Customization & Training
Paper Workflow & Information Management
Workspace Organization & Space Planning
Microsoft Exchange E-mail Migrations
Anti-Virus and Malware Installation
Cloud-Based Back Up Systems
Cloud-Based Digital File Systems
Variety of Speaking Programs
If you or your organization could benefit from our expertise, give us a call for a free phone consultation at 425.670.2551 or 877.342.8592. While we are based north of Seattle, we serve a national clientele.
Eliminate Chaos launches new website for the start of our 17th year in business!
It's hard to believe that we are starting our 17th year in business this month! And to celebrate, we are launching our new business website. We hope you will spend some time on our site and don't be afraid to let us know if you find a typo! Enjoy the site and check back frequently as we will continue to add more information to help you be productive and organized at work.
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