Part I was strictly physical. Now it’s time to get serious. We’re speaking, of course, about the digital.
Before diving in, let me just say this:
My colleague has a single folder on his desktop. I have 248 icons. Far be it from us to say there is a right way and a wrong way when it comes to digital organization, but when you figure out what works best for you, it’s worth it to maximize that system.
2. The Digital: If you have a decent search tool in your operating system and like clutter, there’s nothing wrong with letting it all hang out. Mac has spotlight (apple + space), Windows has desktop search (start + shift + f), Linux has, well, chances are if you’re using Linux you know exactly what you’re doing here. But, here’s the kicker: none are that great. If you’re really gonna let your freak flag fly (by which we mean, your files spread out every which way) you need a tool capable of really combing through the hundreds of gigs of data and finding what you need quickly and efficiently. Google Desktop and Copernic get high marks accross the board. While we generally eschew downloading more crap, this is a piece worth its weight it gold.
If you’re the one-folder kind of person, you probably have some remarkable system that works brilliantly well. Far be it for us to suggest a better system. But, may we humbly remind: back up, back up, back up. Amazon and JungleDisk both offer cheap and simple cloud storage systems, and there are hundreds others out there. Do it. Your data will thank you some day.