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Getting & Staying Organized

For those of you that have no problem with organizing – that’s great; but for those that may have trouble getting started with a program – or need a few ideas to make things easier – hopefully you’ll find these hints useful. These are some of the methods we’ve used over the years and have found them to work for us.

Computer Files

Organizing the files in your computer doesn’t have to be hard. Put everything relevant to one project, website, etc. in one folder in the C Drive then create sub-folders within the main folder to hold images, CGI forms, HTML, drafts, notes, etc. By doing this everything you need for that single project will be in one place. If you have trouble remembering what you’ve named something, use a standard 3-ring binder (with dividers) to keep hand-written notes of the names, dates and comments – and if you have a very large number of files, have separate sections for HTML, graphics, forms, etc.

You can make things even easier by giving the file a name that relates to what it contains. And, if you think you will be using the same document – maybe it’s a form for more than one website – start the file name with the initials of the website, i.e., ABC_inforequest.html and DEF_inforequest.html. This quickly lets you know which website each file references and also lets you know what it contains.

Old or outdated files should not be deleted. Create a ‘holding’ or ‘morgue’ folder in your computer or external hard drive where you can keep these old files. Create sub-folders within the main ‘holding/morgue’ folder for each website, blog, etc. to keep the files separated. You may never need them, but if you do – you’ll be able to access them quickly.

When you’re finished with a project burn all the files to a CD for a file copy. You may or may not want to delete the burned files from your computer. We prefer to keep files for at least 2-3 years before deleting. An external hard drive makes this easy.    Our favorite external hard drive is the  Seagate FreeAgent Go 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive ST905003FGA2E1-RK (Silver)

Graphics

Keep all images in their own folder within the main folder for the website, blog, etc. If you design and create your own images using a graphics program with layers, keep the original graphic separate from the final merged image. We have found over the years it is wise to keep the original layered graphic making it easy to make minor changes without having to re-create everything from the bottom up.

Any outdated or images you no longer need can be held on an external hard drive or burned to a CD.

Calendar | Date Book

Keeping track of what you need to do each day can be a challenge – sometimes it’s hard to even know where to start. Having a daily and weekly list of ‘things to do’ can be very helpful in keeping you targeted and on track. Once you have found the direction you want to take with your Internet business, you will find scheduling your week with each day dedicated to a particular task or tasks is easier. Writing your schedule down and crossing off the completed tasks not only helps keep you moving forward but also gives you a sense of accomplishment when a task is finished.

There are some on line programs that may help you stay targeted. The one that comes to mind is Simpleology.  It’s free and you may want to take a few minutes to review it. It is designed to help get you organized and remove clutter – so you may find it’s just what you’ve been looking for.

Another thought is to use an online calendar (Google Calendar is good) to keep track of your deadlines, webinars and appointments. It is available through your Google Account and can be configured to keep you current via emails, or instant messages.

Letters, Agreements, Etc.

There’s no getting away from paper and you will need to have a traditional file system of some sort. We have found keeping folders for business clients, domain registrations, websites, affiliates accounts, business purchases and such is the best way to go. We use color-coded files and pocket files to keep information together.

If you have charges associated with your Internet business, you will need to have a bookkeeping system to maintain records of incomes, expenses as well as keep track of when to invoice clients. There are some good programs out there, i.e., Quick Books. At first, you may find it more cost effective to handle your own accounting, invoicing and bill paying until you are earning enough money to justify the purchase.

Passwords

If you plan on growing your business, keeping track of passwords can be the most difficult part of it all. You’ll soon find there are passwords associated with just about everything you do . . . .

  • Domains Accounts
  • Hosting & cPanels
  • Email(s)
  • Affiliate Accounts
  • Client Passwords
  • Forums
  • Outside Services
  • AdSense
  • Google account(s)
  • Blog Accounts
  • Social Marketing Accounts
  • Banking Accounts
  • PayPal
  • QuantCast, etc.

. . . and you will need a good way to keep track of them. Starting out this will not be a problem – you’ll probably do just like we did – jot them down on a piece of paper. But once you get that sheet filled up and start changing passwords (some affiliates require them to be changed on a schedule) you’ll soon find it very confusing.

Roboform is the best program out there for keeping track of passwords. Right now we have well over 130 passwords and are adding more daily. There is no way we could keep up with that many passwords on one sheet of paper.  Roboform is password protected, allows you to edit, print and manage all your passwords easily by remembering only 1 master ‘keyword’.

Staying Focused

Once you have your system in place take time about every 4-6 months to ‘clean house’. We all get in a hurry and let things slide . . . so take a moment, review your files, move them if necessary, move old files to the ‘morgue’ or burn them to a CD. Having un-necessary files in your computer can take up space that in turn can cause your computer to perform more slowly. You’ll find keeping everything in order will make doing the work you’ve targeted much easier.


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