Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Work Smarter NOT Harder: Saving Electronic Files

My mantra (all the time, every day!) is “Smarter not Harder”.  I pretty much just try to pay very close attention to what I avoid doing and why, and then I try to solve that barrier. I worked for a time management consulting company for many years as an administrative assistant, I learned a lot from all that stuff I typed!

That means that if it can be automated, streamlined or eliminated, I do it. If it is not a “business building activity” I try to avoid it. If it is something that has to be repeated (consistency and follow through are my arch nemesis) then I find a way to make technology my slave!   

Every business needs to have a way to store and retrieve information.  In Direct Sales, we have customer files, hostess files, team member files, prospective customer files, prospective hostess files, prospective team member files... and then we have training materials, product photos, recognition letters, the list is long and can be overwhelming.

My natural inclination would be to just let files live in the "downloads" or "pictures" folders on my computer.  This makes for a hot mess when I need to put my finger (or cursor, as it were) on something NOW!

From my previous experience at a management consulting firm (and many years as an Administrative Assistant, Office Manager and Executive Assistant) I know that you have to have a standard naming convention for files.  

In normal-people terms, that means that instead of "c77058d8-688d-fc93-367f-351f2ad4d2de.mp4" (seriously, this is the name of the original download!) I need to rename that file "Noel Giger GLOW Girls Training 5-7-2013 recruiting part 2.mp4"

This naming convention takes into account many of the ways that I will use and share this file, in addition to me being able to find it quickly.
  • I include my name because I've got 5 kids, I need to remember my own name sometimes!  Just kidding (sort-of)!  I will share this training recording to my group, the GLOW Girls and they will need to know who it came from.  I also will share it with the larger Jamberry consultant group.  Having my name on it allows me to easily find it when I want to share it with someone in a Facebook group, it allows them to see who created it if they have any questions.
  • I include what it is (training) so that when I want to search for all my files on training, it will come up.
  • I include the date so that I can access the file that way if needed
  • I include the subject (recruiting) so that I can do a search on all my files on recruiting and it will come up.
In addition to clear names for my files, it is also important to have an organized filing system.  In this example,  Noel Giger GLOW Girls Training 5-7-2013 recruiting part 2.mp4 is stored in the following location:
Jamberry / Training / Recruiting

See how easy it would be to find a training file on recruiting?

I'll share 2 more tips on electronic file storage:
  1. When you no longer need a file or folders, move it out of the way!  I have a folder called "ZZ_Closed" where I put all the stuff that I don't need on a regular basis.  This would include info for events that are over, consultants that have moved on, old promotions, etc.  I named it with a ZZ at the beginning so that it would be at the bottom of my list.
  2. When there is something that you access ALL THE TIME and need to have easier access to it, name the folder with a special character in front of it, this will cause it to sort to the top of the list!  This works with file names too!  You see that in the example below with "_Potential Recruit"

I also recommend that you invest in an external storage device.  Saving files will save you lots of time, but not if it bogs down your laptop!  I use Seagate Backup Plus.

Smarter.  Not.  Harder.

Noel Giger Independent Director Proud GLOW Girls Team Leader  469.583.4604








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