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  • October 2nd, 2008 | 8:51 AM
organizing electronic/digital stuff

I have a new computer coming in a few weeks and each time I get a new computer I think I am going to get a little bit better organized. Mostly it works just never as much as I want it to.

This time I am trying to clean up some of the electronic noise I have around me. I am curious as to what habits other people use for some of these things.

1. Email.

Are you a tosser or a keeper?  I've got mail going back 10 years, which is really bad. Most of it did not need to be saved. I'm in the process now of going through a few old email boxes every night and tossing all the old stuff that really shouldn't be saved.

I do have the habit of using my email boxes as a file system so I try to have the same names on mailbox folders as I do on the folders in my documents folder or in my physical file cabinets.

I use Outlook for my email and I am learning how to leverage that program for better time management. For instance, the journal function within Outlook will automatically record each time I open and close a file. Which means I can write a book and know how many hours/weeks/months/years I spent on that part of the project. Which may or may not be a good thing.

2. Documents folder on my computer.

As I said, I have the file names here mimic my mailbox folders and my physical file cabinet. One trouble I seem to be having is that I have way too many folders. I don't know any way around that.

3. Digital photos.

I am always afraid of losing a photo and as a result I sometimes end up with 2 or 3 three copies of the same picture. This happens a lot when I am saving inspiration pictures for the house or garden.

I have to clean up the mess from the past so I have started just dumping things into general folders (house, yard, family, etc) and will have to slowly sort through them and get rid of the duplicates. But I am not sure how to keep myself from getting into the same mess in the future.

How do you organize and keep track of your digital photos?

Whew!

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave comment )
marypearson
October 2nd, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
I'm an email tosser. but I use aol and so I can always do a search and get mail as far back as around a year.

As for pics--I send one copy of everything to my back up drive. If both of those fail, so be it.

Have fun getting organized!
susanwrites
October 17th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
Have fun getting organized!

Ugh. So far, not happening. :-)
hyrkanian
October 2nd, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
I've been reading and trying to use the hints in this book:

Upgrade Your Life

It addresses email and documents folder issues in the first few chapters. I suspect it addresses digital photos somewhere along the way.

Congrats on having a new computer on the way! :) I love love love my desktop and even though I've had it 6 months or so it still feels brand new. :)
susanwrites
October 17th, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
Thanks for book recommendation. I ordered it and am learning some new tricks.

I wish I had my new computer. Grrr. DHL lost it and now Dell is making me wait and wait and wait before they send a new one.
afraclose
October 2nd, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Woohoo on the new computer!

I let email stack up, and hardly delete any of it. I managed to sort of organize some of it into different folders on one of my accounts, but, since I have several accounts, that's only the tip of the data system!

No good system on data yet. I managed to download a program that seeks out duplicate files on your computer and points them out to you, so you can delete extras, and it's helped some.

Photographs I try to back up with our DVD burner, but most of them are on my husband's computer. I'm terrified of losing them, too. <;;>

Let us know how the cleaning goes! I might end up borrowing a page out of your book.
afraclose
October 2nd, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I have a tendency to repeat the words that I just finished typing.

I meant to say, "No good system on filing yet."
susanwrites
October 17th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
I wish I had my new computer. Grrr. DHL lost it and now Dell is making me wait and wait and wait before they send a new one.

Oh, thanks for the reminder about programs that find duplicate files! I have one of those I need to use before I move stuff over.
onegrapeshy
October 2nd, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
Organize? Keep track? Surely you jest. :)
susanwrites
October 17th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
Of course I jest. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. :)
mackatlaw
October 3rd, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
My System
Make a folder filing system with Windows. It sounds like you're already partway there. I organize mine by categories that probably won't do much for you: Friends, Family, Landscapes, Creatures (for statues and costumes), Church, Misc, etc. Then I have subcategories of for instance, Family: Mom, Group, Jesse, Dan, etc. I put a link on my desktop that goes to My Pictures, but you can internally house the folder anywhere you want.

You could also organize the folder by year, if you'd like, but my memory doesn't work like that. I'd rather have everyone in their proper folder, regardless of year. I would go ahead and set up your ideal filing system and then keep sorting little by little on a daily basis. Don't try to do it all at once or it will overwhelm you.

I also keep folders on my desktop called "To Sort" and "To Print", which should make sense just from the titles.

Last but not least, I try (more or less) to make monthly backups with my CD-RW burner onto CDs. I've recently acquired a 60 Gig external harddrive that's holding my music, but I could probably back my photos up to that as well.

Hope that helps!

Mack

susanwrites
October 17th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Re: My System
Hey Mack, I answered this to you before but I guess it was all in my head and not on here. Sigh. I didn't mean to be rude. This was very helpful. I like the idea of keeping a "to print" folder.

The backup is about the only thing I have going for me consistently.

I really appreciate the feedback. I think getting things organized will really help me get my new life off to a good start.
mackatlaw
October 20th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Re: My System
I too have that problem where I compose things in my head and sometimes never get around to writing them down! I'm glad you found something helpful in what I wrote.

I'm glad you're making backups, and that I am too -- my computer's motherboard went out recently, making me glad for my practices of monthly on everything, and daily (via flash drive) for essential priorities like the novel. I'm testing out external hard drives, too, as a source of backup. Mine got fried recently, so I can't say I'm a major fan yet.

Hope your new organizational life is going well!
mackatlaw
October 20th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
Re: My System
P.S. For email I went to Gmail several years ago and never looked back. They're safer on the servers there than they were in my heads. Anything important like attachments I also download and/or print out.
hulabunny
October 4th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm really bad about managing my email. I won't spread my chaos by telling you what I do. :o) For pictures, I post them up on a site like Shutterfly or Kodak Gallery, I also keep a copy on our home server, and for the kids, we put together photo books (through Shutterfly) so that at least we have a nice hard copy if all else gets lost. When our server starts getting full, I'll copy everything onto a DVD, but I don't really have time to take enough pics to fill up that hard drive.
susanwrites
October 17th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
I'm really having a hard time with the pictures. I was using Picassa because I'm in love with all things Google but then trying to post links didn't work half the time. But I like the indexing and stuff.
(Anonymous)
October 13th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
those photos
I take millions of pictures that clutter up my computer, and Google's Picasa program has saved my sanity. It looks through your whole computer and posts them in one program, organized by date taken if you wish. So, the original files are still where you put them, but if you want to look at, edit, get more pictures from a disc or camera, or post them to a blog, it's ALL Picasa.
Once you see what you've got, you can get rid of duplicates and save the rest to CD's or DVD's.
Picasa also has it's own web album, so you can just click to upload them to an album for all to see.
I swear I am not employed by Google! I've just saved many frustrated hours and sleepless nights using their program. I'm in love!

Now, if only they had an email finder ...
( 16 comments — Leave comment )
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Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

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