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comment by veen

I read Marie Kondo in one evening while preparing for my move. You know when you're at a party and you accidentally mention a topic that the other person knows way too much about, and now you're stuck in a two hour lecture? That's what reading Marie Kondo in one sitting felt like. At least it got me to throw away a bunch of stuff I otherwise wouldn't...

Digital drives are so cheap these days that there is little reason to throw much away. I keep all of my digital files from all of my university classes, for example. The only thing you need is a decent file organization or a great search tool, and I don't want to depend on the latter.

My general file system is rather straightforward: have one (solid state) drive with all the important files on it and categorize them in a way that makes the most sense for you. I advice you to separate your operating system drive from this file drive, which allows you to do clean installs whenever you want and have everything file where you left it. Plus, it makes backups super easy because I can just drag one folder to my backup drive and press 'overwrite all'.

I organize mostly by what kind of file it is, because when I look for a file, I probably know what type I'm looking for. My main folders are:

    Applications (only those that benefit from being on an SSD)

Creativity (for things that I make that don't fit in a project)

Documents (subfolders based on document types, like books or notes)


Films & Series


Geodata (only the cool stuff, I use a slow HDD as a scratch disk)


Pictures (subfolders by year, then by album)


Study (subfolders by year, then by course)

Your current Temporal Locality implementation might not work, but that doesn't mean the concept is garbage. I use my Downloads folder in a similar way. Have you trudged through Getting Things Done by any chance? One of its highlights for me is the idea of an (in the book physical) In Tray, which is where documents and files and whatnot enters your system. I only keep stuff in there that is temporary or that I will put in the correct category at a later date. Once in a blue moon I clean that folder up and move stuff to the right folder. The desktop is only for files that I need right now.

blackbootz  ·  301 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    separate your operating system drive from this file drive, which allows you to do clean installs whenever you want and have everything file where you left it.

I sort of follow but can you be completely explicit here just to confirm for me that I'm not missing out on any low-hanging fruit? I basically have a cloud-located archive of all my personal documents, accessibly from anywhere. Is that the same thing?

veen  ·  301 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Not entirely. I'm assuming a Windows machine here, but what I am arguing for is a complete separation between the drive with your OS and all of your personal files; in my case, I have a C: drive with the OS and some small applications, and a D: drive with my file system as described above. The idea is that I can take my D: drive and plug it in someone else's computer and have all the files that I need ready to go. So my C: drive will never contain any file that I care about. This means I can do a clean install of my OS yearly, meaning that in an afternoon I can have a fast and clutter-free OS running.

Note that I didn't mention archives. Never depend on your archives for daily or weekly use, because then it isn't an archive any more. On top of the above, I have two drives that I archive copies of my D: drive on, as well as two different cloud backup services.

blackbootz  ·  301 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ok, so you're advocating two hard drives for any computer you use. I have a 250GB solid state drive on my main and only laptop (Macbook Pro) that houses both the OS and personal files, though 80%+ of my personal files are on the cloud. Archive is a misnomer, it's actually just a database/set of folders I use to organize my principal files. The other 20% of my personal files can't fit into the cloud storage solution I have without ponying up some money, though I'm not totally averse to ponying up for a decent cloud solution, which I'm sure are super cheap these days.

user-inactivated  ·  306 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I advice you to separate your operating system drive from this file drive, which allows you to do clean installs whenever you want and have everything file where you left it.

TIL I'm an idiot. I can't stop cackling and cringing at this, this would have saved me so much time and stress over my life.

I read the book and the manga, and the manga I like because things are just a lot less threatening in comic book form.

Fuck, I just donated GTD after reading the magic of tidying up. Weirdly enough, this actually makes me want to commit to reading it again. I read GTD when I was a freshman in college, and I remember that my big takeaway was to reduce tasks to their under 2 minute essence- I even tried a system out with a physical tray with notecards because my digital solutions for GTD weren't really working for me. I didn't really give GTD my 100% shot, it didn't feel very applicable to me when I was in college and everything was intrinsically interesting to me.


An aside, because it just occurred to me that there is a common theme to the self-help books I like and tend to embrace:

I tend to choose embrace philosophies that can be potentially self-serving in the moment, all the while glossing over maintenance. (Simple Rules)[] is probably the most egregious example, because I break and selectively forget and make up new rules all the time in my head, and no amount of leaving post-it-notes around can change that.


But shit, I'm doing the OS thing right now.

veen  ·  306 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The idea to separate it like that was given to me by a friend a year or two ago and I was equally surprised at why I never thought of it before.

I don't think reading GTD again is necessary - it really isn't that applicable when you're a student, and it's getting more outdated by the minute. Your time is better spent on what GTD really is about, which is building a system for yourself:

And / Or, read Cal Newport's Deep Work, which I loved. Maybe his tips for focused work can get you to focus better on the maintenance tasks: