As online classes continue, more and more students are getting used to storing everything online. Countless links, downloads, webpages, images, documents… they’re all somewhere in your digital space.
But you should not overlook digital organization, even though all your items are not physically taking up space or are disorganized. Organizing your digital files will make it much easier to store and find important links and save a lot of hassle.
In this post, I’m going to teach you how to organize all your digital files during online learning– or in general! If you’re tired of seeing a cluttered desktop and files all over the place, this is the post for you. Let’s get organizing!
Use Cloud Storage
Cloud storage, according to Google, is a type of computer data storage in which your digital data is stored in third-party servers and off your local computer. This means that everything is saved somewhere other than your local downloads.
Apple device users can use iCloud, and those with a Google account can use Google Drive.
I highly recommend using Google Drive, especially as a student. You can save digital notes (Google Docs), presentations (Google Slides), and miscellaneous files (like PDFs, images, etc) in Drive without downloading them to your computer.
Google also makes it easy to share files with other email users, so it’s a handy tool to use when you collaborate with your classmates on assignments and projects.
If you’re not already using cloud storage, go find one now according to your region and your needs. And by the way, all the tips below apply to both local and cloud storage, so keep reading!
Don’t Download Everything
It’s true, there are many many files sent to students, and all of them seem important. But you must be able to differentiate between a file that’s fit for one-time reference or a file that you’ll be using for a long time.
Let’s differentiate between a file in your cloud storage versus a file in your local storage.
- Cloud storage (Google Drive): it will be owned by you and you can bookmark it to reference. However, these files will only be accessible when you are online and have wifi/data.
- Local storage (computer): these are like your physical papers, but digital. You own them, they’re only viewable on your computer, and they can be accessed even when you’re offline and have no wifi/data.
If the file is simply a one-time reference or something you need to print, there’s no need to download it as a local file. You’ll likely never use it again and it will just sit in your computer, taking up space.
However, if you believe that you’ll be using the document repeatedly and for a long time, either add it into your Google Drive or download it onto your computer. I suggest adding it to Drive first, then downloading it if you seem to be using it often.
Name Your Files Properly
Do NOT leave your files named as the default gibberish. Whether you’re downloading a document, an image, a video, or something else, the default name might resemble a string of letters and numbers.
Please do not leave the file names like this, because you will struggle to find them later on. Instead, create a naming system that’s clear and concise, then stick with it for all your files.
If you have many digital notes and lecture presentations that you’ve downloaded, consider using this format: ChapterNumber_ChapterName_Date.
If you have more miscellaneous items, like images, videos, and random files, simply name them with a short description. If there are files with the same/similar contents, simply add a number to the same name.
YOU’LL LOVE THIS POST: The Ultimate Guide To Studying From Home
Create Folders With Hierarchy
Creating folders is one of the key elements of digital organization, and creating folders with a hierarchy is an extension of that. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, Complete Organization System For Online Students, you can create folders in your bookmark’s bar to organize links.
The same idea applies to the files on your computer. Create folders and organize your files accordingly, then create folders within those folders to create a hierarchy. For example, on my desktop, I have folders like this:
- A folder for each class
- A folder for each instrument
- Vision Board
You can customize, rename, and organize your folders however you’d like, but remember to maintain a system you’ll remember!
Personally, I don’t use tags because my folders and file names are enough to organize everything. But tags are a great way to distinguish between many files quickly due to the color and the way they’re usually displayed on your computer.
Most tags are colors (like Red, Blue, Yellow….), but you can usually rename them or create new tags. This can be a good way to differentiate between notes for different classes, or documents from different semesters.
The most important thing is not how elaborate and detailed your organizing system is, but rather that it’s one you can remember and stick with. So if tagging with colors works for you, go ahead and tag all your files!
Delete Files Often
Last but not least, you need to clean out your files often. Even if you didn’t download everything (as I emphasized at the beginning of the post), you’ll probably end up with a lot of unused files at the end of the semester.
Every few months, and definitely every semester, go through your folders and delete the files you know you won’t use again. And if you’re 100% sure you’ll never need it again, go ahead and delete it from your Trash as well. This will save storage!
Leaving your useless files in your computer will only take up space and clutter your mind, so this tip is super important. But don’t worry, this shouldn’t be super tedious, especially if you followed my very first tip!
I hope this post helped you get an idea of how you should organize your digital files! As an online student, I know just how important online organization is, so I hope this helped you out!
If you’re looking for more tips on studying from home, check these out:
- 7 Terrible Study Habits To Quit Immediately
- 8 Daily Habits Of Highly Successful Students
- Complete Organization System For Online Students