How to organize your Computer

Organizing a computer can be a difficult task.  Surely you want to have a folder structure that will keep things organized, but how should that folder structure be divided up?

After many years of experimentation, I think I have come up with a system that keeps everything manageable over a long period of time.

The first thing is to keep different parts of your life separate.

In my case I have my projects, my photos, my writing, and my music.  This division of stuff has been fairly well established by the major operating systems, as they usually come prepacked for us with those folders.

Now here is my special recipe.

Inside of those folders make folders that demarcate years.  So you have something like this:

  • Projects
    • Pre-2008
    • 2009
    • 2010
    • 2011
And here is the very special sauce.  Inside of those year folders put project, or album folders that are prefixed with a 2 or 3 digit padded number, depending on how many projects or albums you expect in the year.

So you will end up with something like this

  • Projects/
    • Pre-2008/
      • 01TerriblePoetry/
      • 02FantasticPeotry/
      • 03TestingTypeWriterReviews
      • 04EnamellingPlates/
      • 05RemakeOfMouseCartoon/
    • 2009/
      • 01PizzaMaking/
      • 02Skydiving/
      • 03Roadtrip/
      • 04MotorCycleDesigns/
      • 05HighQualityLinensAcquisition
    • 2010/
      • 01MoreTeleportationDesigns/
      • 02TrashUnCompactor/
      • 03TrashReCompactor/
      • 04TrashUnCompactorFireSupressionSystem/
      • 05TrashUnCompactorFireSupressionSystemFireSuspressionSystem/
    • 2011/
      • 01TaiChi/
      • 02Teleporter/
      • 03HulaHoopExperiments/
      • 04TelescopeFilm/
      • 05HighVelocityCooking/
      • 06RembrantReproduction/
      • 07MagnificiantMagicAct/
And then whatever folder structure you need can go into each project folder.  In general, I would keep each project portable within the project file, to keep it as portable as possible, so that if you need to take it with you to another computer, you don't need to worry about it.

The reason that I keep my folders padded with numbers is that it ensures that the chronology of my work remains static, independent of me moving all of my files to a new hard drive or operating system.

I suppose that if I had way more projects going at a time, months could be implemented into this scheme, but I find that highly undesirable because most projects do overlap many months, but usually do not overlap more than 2 years.

Now honestly, only a small portion of my computer is actually so well organized.  I should probably do something about that.


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