Take the Headache Out of Finding Files: An Incredibly Easy Method That Works For All

Many of you thought the idea of creating directories was fascinating and wanted to see specific cases. So, I came up with two examples to explain how these simple guides can save you from mind-melting headaches.

First, let’s frame the problem surrounding the time-spent filing in folders and subfolders.

In Four Workflow Strategies Everyone Should Implement to Increase their Productivity, I proposed a thought experiment.

If I give you 100 files and give the same 100 files to someone else, the odds of you two organizing them the same way are slim to none.

Why? Because you both think differently.

When filing assets away, keep the hierarchies to a minimum, use one primary folder per topic, and forget about the subfolders. By eliminating subfolders, you reduce the volume of choices available. Using Hick’s Law, we can assess the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible options; a 37-choice decision is five times slower than a two-choice decision.

This rule is one of my favorite time-saving hacks because a simple directory offsets cognitive load along with the associated stress.

Directories can reduce cognitive load by more than 5 times and save hours per week.

Using a Directory in an Email

According to McKinsey, professionals spend 28% of the workday reading and answering emails. That amounts to a staggering 2.6 hours spent and 120 messages received per day for the average full-time worker in America.

Thoughtfulness has intrinsic value when it comes to communication, especially when passing along actionable insights like attachments.

Example One

Instead of attaching files to an email, create a directory for each item and link them individually to their home in Dropbox (or whatever cloud-based file management system you use). By doing so, you offer a cohesive experience and allow those receiving the message to focus on the content rather than wasting time downloading, saving, and organizing files somewhere on their machine. The user can open the file and view it with ease, and if the asset needs to be altered or amended, the user can do so with proper permission.

Using a Directory to Access Files in the Cloud

Over the past ten years as an entrepreneur, I consulted for several marketing agencies. What was clear to me in those days is that everyone has a different workflow, and they manage information differently (across the board). So, what gives?

Adopting a knowledge repository like bundleIQ does not require much effort, but it requires a team’s buy-in.

Inside the Design bundle are notes pointing to files and prototypes stored in Dropbox.

Example Two

Pretend you’re one of seven creatives working on an advertising campaign. The campaign includes a microsite, digital banners, and a 30-second video. As you can imagine, there will be a lot of design assets created for this campaign.

In this case, directories are a great way to manage the assets.

Instead of creating a Dropbox folder with the campaign’s name and subfolders for each of the corresponding deliverables, create a bundle in bundleIQ called Design. Then make a note linking to those files in the cloud.

It can be one or several notes, as long as the copy is contextually relevant, like “lower-thirds for the 30-second video, or microsite homepage photoshop file.” By doing this, anyone on the team can easily search through the bundle using contextually relevant keywords and find precisely what they’re looking for without the brain damage of digging through a million subfolders and random file names.

The Hub in the Wheel

All of this energy brings me to one area of focus, your repository, as the hub. When you and your team don’t have to try so hard because the information is available when needed most, that’s a good day. May knowledge be your guide!

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