Work Faster by NOT Organizing Your Files

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The following post is from Katie of Kitchen Stewardship:

unorganized file
a snapshot of an UN-organized document

The organizers of the world are flicking paper clips and shooting rubber bands at me while they place me soundly in the “naughty” file, I know.

Don’t get me wrong, some organization is great. But while you all are fiddling with your tables, graphs, columns and bulleted lists, I’m relying on my ctrl+F function to help me write posts faster.

I have three text files in Microsoft Word that are absolutely atrocious to look at. These files are open all the time and I use them every day:

Find Yourself

Every time I publish a post, when I view it to make sure all is well, I copy the URL and paste it into a file titled “000 post links 000.” The zeroes help the file name to stand out quickly as I tab through open windows.

There are no bullets, no columns, no headings, nothing to help me find what I need…except that ctrl+F (the “find” function) is my best friend. Anytime I need an internal link, want to share one of my posts on Twitter, or a reader emails to ask me where I wrote about such-and-such, I can find the answer this fast:

  • Ctrl+F
  • Type in one word – or even part of the word, like “yog” for my homemade yogurt post
  • Enter 3-4x
  • Home, Shift+End, Ctrl+C
  • Tab back to where I started
  • Ctrl+V

That took ten times as long to type out as it does to make it happen.

I never search on my own blog. I never have to wait for WordPress’s dashboard to show me the list of posts I’ve written and search there. If a title is a bit odd, I might type a few keywords below the URL slug to help with my “find” function later.

Money Making Wonder

The second file is called “affiliate links” and contains every affiliate or advertising program I’m involved in. It’s 35 pages long.

I type the name of the affiliate program, then copy the login information, my unique affiliate link, and the code for any images along with a size label. I can update my sidebar with new banners or advertise a deal on Facebook in the blink of an eye with my ctrl+F and a simple keyword.

Good PR

The last file is probably the very messiest. It’s titled “contact for advertising” and contains everything I’ve got for any company I stumble across that might be a good fit to ping for private ads. I just copy and paste haphazardly, so there are about 20 different font sizes and colors in the document, and no organization whatsoever. Why bother copying and pasting four different times into columns for email, contact name, website, and phone number when it’s not necessary?

When I ping a company, I just type a quick “contacted 11/29” so I remember next time I take a look. If I need to remember to follow up, a reminder goes into my Google calendar, because I wouldn’t see it on this list anyway no matter how beautiful it looked.

Sometimes, even though the organizers would probably have a table or an alphabetical list, it’s ok to write for the computer and let the system help you, instead of creating a beautiful, time-consuming document that you’ll still have to pore through manually to get what you want.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go read something on how to make my computer run faster by not having so many open windows all the time.

How do you keep track of your posts, affiliate programs and PR contacts?

Katie Kimball is a mom of two who spends a ton of time in the kitchen making real food with whole ingredients and then blogs about her successes and failures at Kitchen Stewardship. She believes everything in life is a gift from God and should be taken care of wisely.