Storing, Retaining, and Deleting Files

Should it stay or should it go?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the management of files. We’ve looked at how to organize them and what to label them. Now let’s turn to storing them.

A record is a file, photo, video, -anything that captures information. Sometimes they matter and sometimes they don’t. Knowing what to keep is an important part of a well-organized filing system, which is essential for not duplicating work, improving organizational memory, organizational knowledge, and being able to tell the complete story of a project, event, program, or system. 

We care about what we save because we care about what we don’t save. Imagine all of your files being destroyed. Or lost. This doesn’t just happen because a file is deleted by accident. It also happens because it’s buried in your desktop and not given a searchable name. Spending time searching or recreating a document is wasteful and negatively impacts an organization’s strength.

There is no need to keep duplicate documents. But when you do, label the file appropriately. For example mastercopy 1, mastercopy 2, …..mastercopy 11 is unnecessary, confusing, and redundant. This true across all media.

If the file is saved on your computer, it may not be necessary to also have it in email, and in hard copy.

When you are working on a project and many files are created as a result, be sure to delete any unnecessary documents as you go or when you are done. It will help immensely in the future.