The world has changed a lot since our parents were studying and one of the biggest changes is the way we use electronic equipment like laptops and cellphones on a daily basis.  If you don’t have a system to manage them though, it’s easy to go into information overload with the stream of emails and messages coming in every day.  Then when you try to find a message or a file, it’s almost impossible.

Start the process of setting up a filing system as soon as you can, and you’ll find everything flows more easily.

  1. Create folders on your computer that cover all the types of files and emails you work with, and divide those folders into appropriate subfolders.  So your email or computer filing system might look like this, depending on what kind of things you are filing:


Course work

Web design

Course information
Other references
Tutorials and exercises




To pay


Cheque account
Student loan
Credit card




From friends
From family

Invites to events


Deal with later

Important to read
Funny stuff for when I need a laugh

  1. The first time you read a message or email, decide what you need to do with it:
  • Delete it.
  • File it permanently in a folder.
  • Flag/file it somewhere for later action and set a reminder on your phone or in your online calendar to deal with it on a specific date.  On that date, deal with it and then file it appropriately.
  1. Name your files well:
  • Give them meaningful names e.g. ‘Biology module 1 course notes’ not ‘File 1’
  • Use the same format for the same type of file e.g. ‘Biology module 2 course notes’
  • Date every file e.g. ‘Design exercise 23 – 12.03.2014’
  • If you have multiple versions, put the version number in the file name ‘ Final assessment v6 – 02.04.2014’

The hardest part is setting up your system.  After that, all you have to do is regularly process your mails/files and you’ll be able to find anything you need at a moment’s notice.  What a relief!

Image credit:  Amlan Mathur via Flickr


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