Save Time with Consistent Naming Conventions

One of the best ways to save time on your computer is to be consistent when naming your files.

photo of dog with computer

It not only saves you time, but will be imperative when (not if) you bring someone in to help you expand your art business. It makes no sense to hire an assistant only to spend half of your time trying to find things in the computer for your assistant.

Your file names should be so clear that your office or studio assistant can find what they need without bothering you.

Last week, Karin, our Client Happiness Officer, was trying to find something in our fancy-pants customer software. She gently, and rightly, asked for more consistency in how we name things.

For example, we have used all of these modifiers to our tag names*:

April14
April2014
Apr14
Apr2014
4-14
4-2014

There is nothing wrong with any of these, but there’s something wrong with using all of them. You’ll waste precious time when you can’t discern why one tag is named one way and another a different way.

Even If You Don’t Use Tags

This is applicable even if you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “tags.”

You should have consistent naming conventions for:

  • Computer and paper folders
  • Document names (such as contracts, agreements, portfolio items)
  • Image files (include title, date, size in name)

Make sense?

It’s easy to put off doing tasks like this. You can always find something more urgent to do. So why not sign up for Organize Your Art Biz, which begins soon. We roll up our sleeves and take care of these nagging tasks – and we hold your hand though the process. See details and register here.

 

*Tags are how we organize the contacts in our mailing list. For instance, you would get specific tags added for taking a class, signing up for a free webinar, or subscribing to the Art Biz Insider.

 

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3 comments to Save Time with Consistent Naming Conventions

  • I take this a step further in my art business. In order to organize my jewelry pieces I use an inventory ID system. I tag the actual piece, all picture files of the piece, and the database entry with a uniform ID. That way these components are connected in a uniform way and I can check the status of pieces easily. I use Makers’ Moon (an online database tool) to manage my works.

  • I really appreciate you bringing the importance of naming files consistently and, as you describe in your wonderful course, how mindfulness is key in understanding how you got so disorganized in the first place and how to move forward with better habits.

    Psychologically, I think people think they are so busy they don’t have the time to put something away properly thinking “oh, I’ll get around to it” and then wondering why they are tearing their hair out looking for things.

    Personally, I think its the myth of being busy, a seductive trap we can all fall in to if we let ourselves think we are SO busy that we can’t take a few mindful minutes to honor our work and find a place for it.

    I like thinking in timelines so I tag everything with a date followed by a subject like, 2014-04-22 Grant Proposal Draft/Avery Foundation. Then, I tag it as “Grants”. Since I write a lot of proposals, all of them pop up chronologically when I search for them by tags!

    The trick, of course, is that I date and tag everything first. It is a great habit to have and takes the stress out of your work so you can easily find everything you need to do the work you love.

    thanks again for providing great solutions,

    hoongyee

    http://hoongyee.com/