Four Important Folders on my Computer

Here are four folders that I have in my Documents on my hard drive that I’ve found save me time.

Receipts – When I buy something online that I need to keep track of, I’ll print a copy of the receipt page to a PDF and save it in this file. Usually I’ll save it with the date as part of the file name. For example: 20071012-cell-phone-order.pdf. This makes it easy to find records of purchases.

Rebates – Rebates are awful. Basically, companies are betting on the fact that you won’t take the time to fill out the paperwork and send it in. I’ve found if I keep everything in a single location, it makes it a lot easier for me to gather up all the pieces of info I need and it is easier to make sure I get all the checks I’m suppose to. The scanner obviously makes this easier, but the real workhorse is Acrobat Standard. I can use it to fill out the forms and then save them. This works well on most forms, but it isn’t worth the trouble on those forms that have a separate box for each letter.

Backups – I use this directory to keep backups of various things I might need. Granted, my entire computer is backed up as well, but this gives me a place to keep things where I need to do a backup before making a big change. For example, I backup my financial software to this directory before doing global changes that could be difficult to recover from. I also backup my address book to this folder before syncing to a new cell phone or before making large-scale changes.

To File – This is a newer folder for me, but so far it seems to be working well. I created this when I decided to keep all documents out of my top level Documents folder. It now contains only other folders. I still needed a place to put something when I don’t have time to find or create a proper folder for it. The “to file” folder fills this function.

Originally published on January 15, 2007.


  1. Geri says

    I have a similar system. I don’t have to deal with rebates so I don’t have that folder! I do have the others though. One thing – I find my To File folder can get unwieldy unless I actually remind myself to do the filing. It got out of hand before, and I dealt with it by scheduling ‘file 5 items from to file folder’ in my daily diary until it was empty. Now I include it as an inbox in my weekly review (I’m a GTDer).

  2. says

    Another important folder on my computer is Temporary-DeleteMe.
    I use it for files such as downloads etc. that I will not need for long time and it reduces clutter on my desktop.

    I also put numbers on each other folder 1-Backups, so that I can easily influence the order they are displayed. Otherwise they come by alphabetical order which might not be the most practical for me.

    I published about 200 concrete time saving tips on the Time Management Master blog to gain an extra hour every day. These tips can be applied at home, at work or on the road.

    Every person is different and so are my tips. I hope that you will find something that works for you.


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