I have to say that one of the biggest time savers + key pieces of my process with Dropbox was switching where my internet files are downloaded to. Instead of using that awkward downloads folder that my iMac or MacBook automatically make for me, I set all of my browsers + programs to download files directly to my Dropbox inbox. (Most of these programs can be set to do the same using the preferences or settings section.)
Not only does it keep my files in the cloud so I can access them from any device (iPads + iPhones too), it sets me up for my daily ritual of cleaning out my Dropbox inbox + filing all of those PDFs, jpgs + other files that I’ve accumulated during the day. To be honest, sometimes this daily ritual gets missed, but even cleaning out my dropbox inbox weekly has kept me sane + honestly clutter free.
Along with my inbox landing place for files, the other part of this system that has me in love is the project template folder I use as a foundation. Not needing to save duplicates of welcome documents, instruction templates + other misc items really adds up with each project that I use this structure for. And this is something you can implement even if you don’t use Dropbox.
As much as I love the file management system that I planned out in Dropbox, there is one part that I ditched pretty quickly — the ebooks collection that was growing by the hour, or so it seemed.
First, I dropped the step of putting ebooks in that folder before they made it into AppleBooks (which is where I manage all of my digital downloads.) Adding an extra step of sorting the documents just to put them somewhere else seemed really silly to me. The second part that I changed is that I don’t amass digital downloads like I was before. It’s almost like I gave myself an allowance of downloadable files (whether free or not) in order to get my digital hoarding under control.
I’m a sucker for a great guide like the next person, but when I looked at my iPad full of content that I could honestly say I even browsed no more than 15% of, I realized I needed to knock it off. file management is great, but getting rid of files to manage can be even better.
The biggest takeaway from this has been “Why didn’t you do this sooner?” Not only has it freed up space on my computers, saved me time since I’m no longer looking for my tiny USB drive + waiting for it to sync, but it has also made working with clients + collaborators easier as well. Plus, when I upgraded to a professional Dropbox account, I got some nifty features alongside my larger storage — like revisions + link expiration. I’m not an affiliate, I simply could not run my business the way that I want to without Dropbox.
If your files + folders are a bit of a hot mess, I encourage you to sign up for their free plan (or find a similar cloud-based solution that you love) + give it a shot. Even if you test it with one project or your content creation files only, you’ll see pretty quickly the power of getting those files organized + in an easy to access spot. And then you can nerd out with me about it on Twitter or Instagram.
illustration via dropbox.com