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30 Aug

Look less but find more, but without gathering more

Datum: 2021-08-30 20:54

The more places we have to choose between when we have to find some­thing, the more time we risk spend­ing on search­ing. If we have got many places for stor­age, it becomes dif­fi­cult to choose one, so we then tend to put it in a place where we can keep an eye on it in the mean­time, and voilá — anoth­er place for stor­ing is conceived.

Too many cooks spoil the broth
There are more and more places where we can store dig­i­tal files and doc­u­ments. My first com­put­er, which I got in 1986, had two flop­py disks and no hard dri­ve. If I want­ed to save my new­ly writ­ten Basic-pro­gram, there was only A: or B: available.

Today, as we all know, it is a very dif­fer­ent sce­nario. We have many inter­nal loca­tions in the orga­ni­za­tion (local­ly in your com­put­er’s fold­er struc­ture, on the com­put­er desk­top, Ever­note or some­thing like it on the com­put­er, on a shared serv­er, in doc­u­ment man­age­ment sys­tems, in CRM-sys­tem et c) and an con­tin­u­ous­ly grow­ing num­ber of cloud ser­vices for stor­age out­side of the orga­ni­za­tion (Google Dri­ve, Drop­box, Box, etc.).

Every place clear­ly has its ben­e­fits, but wouldn’t you say that it also gets messy at times and that it can be dif­fi­cult to keep it all coher­ent­ly orga­nized? Many of us spend more time search­ing than we would like to.

Have faith
It would def­i­nite­ly helps us if we could store things in few­er loca­tions, but we can­not always deter­mine what these loca­tions and places are to be our­selves. Per­haps we work in a large orga­ni­za­tion, per­haps we have cus­tomers and part­ners that insist on using a par­tic­u­lar cloud-service.

How­ev­er, we need not be total­ly lost due to our lack of con­trol. Allow me to remind you of a faith­ful, old solu­tion to this prob­lem as well as sug­gest a new ser­vice that makes search­ing for doc­u­ments con­sid­er­ably easier.

Tak­ing a shortcut
You are prob­a­bly aware of that you can cre­ate short­cuts to files and doc­u­ments. But, how often do you use the func­tion in oth­er places than for the com­put­er desk­top? Judg­ing by what I see my clients do, we would ben­e­fit from using the short­cut-fea­ture more often. Let us say you have a place where you store all your dig­i­tal doc­u­ments (on your com­put­er or in your des­ig­nat­ed place on the shared serv­er) and that you have a fold­er struc­ture there which you feel com­fort­able with.

Even if you on top of that have files scat­tered else­where and you would pre­fer to have it all gath­ered in one place, you can cre­ate short­cuts to the files (and fold­ers and intranet pages) that are scat­tered all over, in your own fold­er struc­ture so that they are still in the right loca­tion” in terms of your own sys­tem and struc­ture. You set up your own struc­ture and is not so depen­dent on your col­leagues adher­ing to your par­tic­u­lar way of organizing.

The inter­linked web
The var­i­ous cloud ser­vices may prove to be more dif­fi­cult to sync. It is cer­tain­ly good that for exam­ple Drop­box syn­chro­nizes with your com­put­er, but this does not apply to all services.

For this pur­pose there is Polite; a web ser­vice that con­nects many oth­er ser­vices so that the user can access them all from one loca­tion. It allows you to access your Google Dri­ve account, your Drop­box, your Flickr-account, your YouTube-account and more, in a sin­gle inter­face. The ser­vice is rather new and I have not yet dis­cov­ered any flaws in it. I would still like to be able to search through all of my ser­vices simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, but per­haps this fea­ture will be avail­able in the future.

Both of these solu­tions thus enable you to gath­er many loca­tions into one sin­gle loca­tion with­out hav­ing to dis­card any places. You can eat the cake and have it too.

Do this
If you feel like this can be some­thing for you, do some­thing imme­di­ate­ly to imple­ment your ideas.

  1. Now, is there any dig­i­tal doc­u­ment or file that you often look for? Per­haps it is a tem­plate, a list, an inven­to­ry, a guide, a check­list, a page on the intranet?

  2. Look it up now and cre­ate a short­cut to it. Cre­ate the short­cut in the loca­tion (in the fold­er, on your com­put­er desk­top, as a book­mark in your brows­er) where you know that you will prob­a­bly spon­ta­neous­ly look first.

  3. Good. Next time you will find what you are look­ing for faster and get a lit­tle more time for what you would rather spend time on.

  4. Are there oth­er doc­u­ments that you also tend to look for?

  5. If you want to try Polite, you can eas­i­ly reg­is­ter on

Eas­i­er than searching
If you use one of these two tricks to eas­i­er get access to more stor­age places, you will spend less time search­ing. You get more time to do all the things you want and need to do to reach your goals in the eas­i­est pos­si­ble way. Your work­ing envi­ron­ment becomes more plea­sur­able with less effort.

How do you do this?
How do you man­age to avoid search­ing for dig­i­tal files and doc­u­ments? And how have you man­aged to com­bine your pref­er­ences with those of your col­leagues and clients? Email me and share your method.