card catalog

Creating a file strategy

Now that we’ve created all this documentation it’s a good time to start exploring some of the ways technology might be used, abused, and improved in your business. I’m going to begin with an area I personally need to address for my business, writing these posts will keep me accountable.

Let’s talk about all those files that exist in your filing cabinet, on your laptop, the file server, dropbox, and wherever else you have things squirreled away.

Many factors influence the state of your document management strategy today and where it should be for your business. Your age and familiarity with technology play a large factor. The nature of your work can also impact these files.

The number one question I’m asked is isn’t it best to keep everything? Those clients tell me that storage is cheap, searching is getting better, and they worry they may need it later.

While its possible to create a large archive because digital storage is cheap, I argue for a thoughtful approach. When you have an actual strategy in place for your business, the files can better work with you and help your business instead of becoming an impenetrable and inaccessible archive.

It’s also one of those areas where it’s easy to ignore the plan. That’s what’s happened to me. My workload changed and instead of spending five minutes to file things properly I put them in a catchall folder. Now I have to spend much more time to clean it up so it’s maintainable and conforms to my plan.

Over the next few weeks I’ll explore life cycle of files, working through the files while still working, naming conventions, and more.