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Organizing Your Desktop-Computer Desktop That Is!

In my years as a teacher, organization was something that was lost on me. I was the teacher with stacks of papers on her desk, boxes of papers behind her desk (fondly called the "Fire Hazard"), and stuff piled on the tables around. Since leaving that profession, and entering the world of business, I have learned that organization is my friend. Piles drive me nuts and boxes with papers are no longer around because I discovered why filing cabinets are there- and to my amazement, it is not decoration. One important place that many people don't think about having organized is their computer desktop.

Have you ever needed to quickly pull up that file on your computer, but it takes you forever to find it because of the millions of files cluttering your desktop (computer desktop that is)? My husband is a neat freak. He can't stand the kitchen to be a mess, clothes to be on the floor, and my daughter's toys that are over running our house is driving him crazy. Yet it completely amazes me that his computer desktop is full of files. His desktop drives ME crazy! I have gotten the art of organizing my desktop down, and now I would like to share my strategy with you for getting your desktop organized so that next time a client calls, you know exactly where their file is!

1. Have as few folders on your desktop as possible. Break them into main categories. I use my computer for personal and business, so I have 5 folder's on my desktop. "Patty's" all my personal files go in there. "Patty's Backup" for my husband to know what I want him to back up each week. "Patty's Quicken" you guessed it-for my bookkeeping files. "Julie's Shortcut" a client's folder that I want quick access to as I am currently working on a project for her. "VA" my most important folder-my business folder. The rest of the tips will be how to break up your main category folders.

2. Put all the files on your desktop into one of your main categories-there should be NO FILES ON YOUR DESKTOP!!! Only folders.

3. Inside your desktop folders, break the items into categories, and create a folder for each category. Examples-Clients, Paperwork, Projects, Advertisement, Subcontractors-to name a few.

4. Then go through your main folder and put each file into the category they best fit.

5. Now, open up those category folders-do you still see a ton of files? Break them into subfolders. For example-Clients- Make a folder for each client so their information is easily accessible.

6. Still need to break it down-Take each clients folders, and create subfolders-paperwork, projects, invoices, etc.

Continue with this process until every file belongs to a folder, and every folder is easy to navigate. The goal is when you open a folder-you know immediately what is in it. You will find that it is much easer to get to work because you are not distracted by all the items on your desktop, and when that client calls, you do not spend 5 minutes hunting for the file you need to answer his/her question. Take time to get one of the most important pieces of equipment in your office organized so that your office runs even more efficiently.

' 2005 JERPAT

You have permission to reprint this article electronically or in print, as long as the text and byline remain unedited. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

About the author:

Patty Benton is the owner of JERPAT Virtual Assistants and JERPAT Web Design,, which provides affordable administrative and web design support to coaches, small businesses, religious organizations, and realtors.' Additionally, Patty is a coach for new entrepreneurs interested in venturing into the virtual assistance industry.' She has developed a program that is affordable for all.' Visit her coaching site at www.virtualvacoach


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