This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Why file management is so important to people who use computers

If you've ever felt stupid because you couldn't find something on your computer, and wondering if other people do it, rest assured that most people do. They can't find files, they can't find emails. They also can't find their car keys, they forget appointments, they forget names, lose stuff.

And while calling yourself "stupid" may be harsh, you are being careless. And if people are counting on you, especially if they're paying you, you really need to get organized. The good news is that it's easy, and the goal isn't perfection, it's improvement.

If you're a professional, such as a Graphic Designer, you need to spend as little time as possible looking for stuff, and maximize the time you spend doing work. And the best way to start is with file management. Here are a few tricks:

• Name your files as if someone else is going to need to find them. It will probably be only you, but in a few months even you won't have a clue how to find something that should have been called "Cartoon of a dachshund" if you didn't give it a name. Yeah, while you're working on it, naming the file "sketch_405" will be fine, as your short-term memory will be able to recall that while you're working on it, but if you name the file "Cartoon_dachshund", you'll be able to do a search for it next month, or next year. And find it!

• Use folders. Your computer was designed around the concept of the "Paperless Office" - with folders. And you can put folders inside of folders (like filing cabinets). If all your files are scattered on your desktop, it's the same as keeping all of your work out all over the place, on the floor, in a mess. And why do you think that computer files were called "files"? File them!

When my clients contact me, I go to their folder, find their stuff, and am ready to work in minutes. I don't spend hours looking around for stuff. My nervous system couldn't take that, anyway! If you're disorganized, don't worry about it, most people will be sympathetic, and will support your behavior. Me, I'll take your job away.