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Chapter 5. Organizing Your Files > Avoiding Information Overload

Avoiding Information Overload

If you don’t purge files that are no longer useful, you eventually wind up with a completely unusable filing system. The more outdated files that are in the system, the harder it is to find current information. Two of the most common types of outdated files are ones that are no longer useful because they are so old, and working papers such as drafts that have been superseded by final versions. There are two habits you can adopt to keep your electronic filing system neat and tidy.

  • Create folders with archiving in mind. For instance, if you know you want to keep old proposals for three years, correspondence for six months, and work products forever, don’t put them in the same folder. If the only thing that’s in your correspondence folder is correspondence, you can easily purge the system every six months knowing that all files in that folder can go.

  • Create working folders for specific projects. Keep all drafts, correspondence, and copies of files containing supporting data in the working folder. Then at the termination of the project, move the final work product to the appropriate folder for permanent storage and purge the working folder.


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