Keeping your Data Safe: Getting Organised

Organised Desk

This is the first in a series of articles discussing how to keep your data safe both on and off campus and will cover topics such as keeping you device secure, getting your data organised and backing it up should something go wrong.

Keeping your data safe is not just about keeping your computer secure from others, its just as much about keeping it organised to prevent it being lost. This article discusses how to keeps your files organised on a computer, something that should hopefully prevent files being lost and also help improve your workflow allowing you to get things done quicker. The focus of this article is on getting your files (document / photos etc.) organised, we will cover organising any on-line services your may use in a later article. The ideas discussed here are applicable to both storing your files on campus using your HomeDrive (or F:\ Drive) or off campus on your own device and can be easily transferred to the workplace.

Names files descriptively and consistently

It sounds simple but naming files so that they describe what they are can go a long way in stopping you loosing work and getting it organised. Having a dozen files all called “Document 1”, “Document 2” etc. makes it difficult to find the exact document you really need to open, so naming when you save is an extremely important. Its also good to be specific and consistent when naming, for example simply calling a document “assignment” doesn’t solve the problem, naming it “TEL Assignment 1” makes it immediately identifiable.

Keep related files in one place.

Things are easier to find when you know where to look, like the cupboard with all the chocolate. If you have lots of files related to a module or assignment keep them all in the same folder, especially if there is a mix of file types for example documents and images related to the same project. This will stop you loosing files and also make you work faster as you know exactly where to find whatever you need.

Create folders within folders.

Following on from keeping files in one place you can expand the concept to all your work while at university. For example create a folder called “SHU” and within this a folder for each year of your course. Within these folders you could then create another folder for each module taken that year, and you might want to create folders within these for assignments or learning materials from lectures. This way you can easily look back on work you have done previously and also have a way to organise your current work.

Don’t save everything to your desktop, organise as your go.

I know its tempting but avoid saving files to your desktop, you’ll just end up with a cluttered mess that never gets sorted. Instead organise files as soon as you create or download them into their appropriate location.

Create an Inbox or TO-DO folder.

Not everything can immediately be organised, rather than placing files on your desktop or downloads folder, create a “Inbox” or TO-DO folder. You can then use this in much the same way as an email inbox, if a file is in the folder then you need to do something to it before it is organised e.g. an eBook you think may be useful for a module, once you have looked at it you can then move it to the correct folder. This not only helps you organise odd files but can also act as a tool for organising work that needs to be done.

Synchronise and Backup your data.

We’re not covering synchronising in this article but its worth considering how you keep different work locations in sync (particularly if using your own device). The same applies to creating a Backup, its not covered here but worth investigating.

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