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Working at pt 7: looooong file names and layers of folders??

Hi all!

It's Maya from the be-event and do-business team!

Today, I will continue my series of working at, specifically about how we sort or files. More specifically, how we name them 🤔

When I entered I thought it was funny how all the files were named. It goes like this [YYYYMMDD] [Filename] [Initials of the person who created the file]". For example, "20191028 Photos RA". It's quite long and it starts with a bunch of numbers. Only later did I realize how important it is to do it this way.

To give some context, is my third job. In my previous jobs, the file naming system was not this detailed! In one of them, we only put dates in the folder. The files inside the folder did not have dates in them. Also, we only have one folder per year (no months or days). So you can imagine the number of files we have in each folder. It was really stressful to find the files that you need.

In I was at first surprised by the detail of the file naming rule, but I started appreciating it a lot after comparing it to my previous jobs. So aside from naming each file a certain way, we also have a rule with the folders. I hope I can explain it well, it may be a bit tricky.

Each department has its own folders e.g. do-business, be-events, think-research, etc. In every folder, we have three folders: Workspace, Incubate, Archive. Workspace is everything that is still in progress, while Archive is everything that is done. We added the incubate folder sometime in 2020 as an in-between folder, so things that are in progress but you don't really need to see during the week.

Once we are done with say a project, we can move it to archive, which is the only folder to contain more folders named based on the years. We do this to prevent what our CEO calls "zombie files". It makes sense because we don't always need to look at every single file that we've made. We can ignore the files that are no longer relevant. This was the biggest issue I had in my previous jobs, as I have to always scroll through so many files to find what I need. 😓

So, let's recap!

do-business/be-events/think-research -> workspace/incubate/archive. If it's archive folder then -> 2021/2020/2019...

What comes next? then it's the projects or documents.

For example, in the be-events -> workspace, we would have a folder for the Tokyo University program! How do we name this folder? Starting with year, month, then date! And again, every single file in this document is also named the same way.

Another thing that's special is the "old" folder! Sometimes we may update a file drastically. When making big edits to a file, we must save a copy to an "old" folder, then rename the current file to the current date. Why such a long process? For one, we can track back the old documents in case we need to. Also, we always know which one is the most updated file! I learned this the hard way when I forgot to put documents to the old folder, ended up printing the wrong files 😓.

This system I have never seen anywhere else! Every time I tell my friends about these stories, they are always surprised because they do not do the same in their companies. Now I cannot imagine naming files differently.

So, I learned that naming files based on just the year of a file is really not enough. The months and dates are super important. I learned that the "old" and "archive" folders, save a lot of time and also occupy less space in my head as I can find exactly what I need.

It looks like a lot of layers, but I promise it's useful. It's also easy to learn because we document all these instructions in our manual! I will talk about it in another post 😉

Thank you for reading my blog, see you next week!

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