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Organizing work/school-related digital files

A professor from the Global South emailed me to ask if I would consider writing a blog post on best practices to maintain an organized set of folders for students. To be perfectly honest with you, I was never taught how to do this. These practices, whether best or not, are the ones I have developed over the course of the years. Hopefully my process and strategies may be of use to scholars and students all over the world.

Diplomado ProDialogoCIDE  IMTA  MAPP 40 aniversario 203

I store PDFs in Mendeley, too!

Like anybody, I, too, get disorganized every so often. This is something that happens to me when I am overwhelmed and I just say “oh, I’ll dump my files in my main Dropbox folder” and then I have to take an entire day to re-organize my life. I use various cloud-based services. My Twitter thread explains with details and screenshots how I work.

You will notice I have a folder with the title “Vancouver Studies”. I’ve always wanted to write and publish a paper using my hometown as a case study. Sadly, a reviewer asked me to cut it from one of my papers so it’ll have to wait yet another year. I do have a few projects that use Vancouver as a case study and I am working on getting them out.

As anyone who reads my blog and follows me on Twitter will know, I’m a Virgo, an “Upholder”, a Type A and someone who thrives when having a clean and organized environment, both physically and mentally.

This means that I need to spend some time creating a folder called “Grant Writing Books” and moving it to OneDrive. But I seriously haven’t even had the time to do that (though I may just do that right after writing this blog post).

And, like anybody else, I also have a “To Organize” folder where I dump stuff. I set time aside every weekend to reorganize my files, but because I already have a system, it takes me SUBSTANTIALLY less time to do it nowadays. Some articles I’ve downloaded I want to read are there too.

Personally, I find it easier to work when my work has structure, order and organization. So I hope these suggestions will be useful to those who follow me and read my blog.

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Posted in academia, organization, productivity, writing.

One Response

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  1. Suzana Mafra says

    Olá, professor. Sou Suzana, aluna de doutorado no Brasil.
    Gostei muito da apresentação do seu método e do conteúdo do blog como um todo.
    Parabéns pelo trabalho!

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