Friday, March 1, 2013

Organizing 101

It's tax time, so as I get my information together to take to the preparer, I alternately bless or curse my organization or lack thereof. While I'll admit to having to look up a couple of things this year, I'm also patting myself on the back for having neatly filed pertinent receipts and statements. The couple I was missing (probably because I forgot to print them out!) were found neatly cataloged in my PayPal history and on a credit card statement. In the internet age, ordering something online with "plastic" is both a bane and a blessing, but at least the information is available!

Speaking of the internet, do you subscribe to newsletters? Do you read them immediately and delete or move them to a folder? Or do they sit in your inbox until they're edging toward the bottom of page four?

I like to keep my inbox(es) cleaned out, so I only move to a folder one of the several newsletters to which I subscribe. The others I read, follow links, copy and past articles, and save those in pertinent folders in My Documents. I always go back and copy the link and paste that at the very bottom of the article. It's handy for sharing on blogs, Twitter, etc. without having to go back and try to find the article online.

Of course, that clutters up My Documents, so periodically I go there and move each saved document to its proper folder or create a new one. I also keep a folder called "Books Info". Inside are folders for each of five novels I've published, and inside each folder are other folders for covers, press releases, tag lines, blurbs and excerpts, promotional loops I've posted to, marketing specifics, video trailers, related pictures, contract information, buy links, the original submission, and even the final PDF. I've found this a great way to have the information for a specific book at my fingertips when I need it.

I try to back up everything regularly on two flash drives and one external hard drive, but I'm not as conscientious as I ought to be.

Then there are my online "bookmarks". I have a bad habit of just clicking "Save this page" rather than searching for the folder in which it belongs. Then I have to go back and move things around. That's one of the things I'm working on--do it right the first time! 

In my filing cabinet--the one that sits by my desk, not my computer, I keep my research material filed alphabetically. Trying to break it down by subject can get confusing, so it's easier to remember that if I want something about "World War II", I just go to "W". I may have to plow through printed material on "Washington" and "Wind Surfing", but I can put my hands on what I need.

The system I have going works for me, and that's what it's all about--whatever works for the person. But if you have any tips to share, feel free!

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