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.
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.
If you feel like this can be something for you, do something immediately to implement your ideas.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Are there other documents that you also tend to look for?
- If you want to try Polite, you can easily register on www.polite.one
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.