1. Categories are your best friend
Categorizing your work digitally and physically is incredibly important for all things organization. Every semester I would make files on my desktop for each class, and at the end of the semester they would all go into one folder titled “Past Classes.” Now when I need to find notes from a class, all I have to do is look in that folder and I know exactly where everything is. And you better believe I have folders within folders within folders. If everything has its own place, I will always know where it is when I need it.
Tip: If something falls within multiple categories, file it in multiple folders!
2. Have a digital and physical copy of the important things
This is essentially like having a backup to your backup. I have gone through 4 computer hard drives (and lost everything each time), so having a backup of all your files, whether in the cloud, external hard drive, or in a physical binder/folder will save you so much time and stress in case of emergencies!
3. Do NOT procrastinate on filing/organizing
As soon as you download a document file it away. There is no reason it needs to be out on your desktop unless you are actively using it and need quick access to it daily. If you procrastinate on filing, your desktop (on your computer OR your physical desk) can turn into a chaotic mess. This just makes it harder than it should be to find documents you need in a pinch.
4. Reformat handouts and notes in a way that makes sense to you
Only the notes you write yourself will make complete sense to you. It can be helpful having notes from multiple sources or classmates, but deciphering the way someone else organizes their information can make it hard to fully grasp certain topics. I always encourage everyone to write their own notes, or compile notes into an easily readable document that can be referenced when you need it.
Going along with #4, keep it simple. It may be nice to have multiple documents, sources or references to certain topics, but compiling dozens of resources can take up a lot of space and may make it more difficult to find a specific piece of information. So be picky with what you save and choose to store on your computer or in your filing cabinet. Try keeping ALL of the resources you find on something like Google Drive, where you can type a few words in the search bar and find what you need easily. Then save all of the resources that you use regularly on your desktop in categorized folders. This way, you’re saving your computer memory and putting valuable resources to good use.