Google Drive organization is an unavoidable task for online business owners. Sure, you can ignore it and put it off for years, but eventually it will start to weigh you down. Stress will build, you’ll waste hours and hours of time, and something that should be a significant resource for your business will become a burden.
In order to avoid all that chaos, you’ll need to stay on top of decluttering and organizing your Google Drive. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you can be with a properly organized digital storage system!
If your drive looks more like a landfill than a business hub, it could take a while for you to get under control. But don’t worry! Just take a little action each week, and before you know it, you’ll be feeling confident once again.
Let’s take a look at some Google Drive tips that will help you as you start the process of organizing your business.
My Top Tip for Google Drive Organization
Download Google Drive for your desktop!
Being able to save and organize your files right from the file manager on your computer will make a HUGE difference for your digital storage system.
Instead of saving a file to your desktop, leaving it there until your desktop is so cluttered you can’t stand it, and then forgetting why you even saved it to begin with… just save it right to your Google Drive!
You can quickly rename the file with keywords you can search for later, put it in an organized folder, and easily find it anytime you need.
Best of all, it’s so easy to do! Just download Google Drive to get started.
Organizing Your Folders
You don’t need a complicated folder structure in order to feel organized and in control. It’s actually best if you just keep it simple!
My Drive has 4 main folders:
- The Org CEO - everything specific to my business
- Clients - everything specific to my clients’ businesses
- Resources - educational resources and tools
- Public - Do Not Move - anything I’ve shared with a big group of people and don’t want moved or deleted (typically paid products and lead magnets)
Each main folder is broken down into subfolders covering a variety of categories. Here’s the current list in case you’re curious:
The Org CEO >> Affiliate Program, Blog Posts, Branding, Feedback, Financial, Graphics, Inspo, Legal, Market Research, Marketing, Membership, Processes, Products, Questions, Team, Videos, Visibility, and Website
Clients >> Archive, Prospects, VIP Days
Resources >> Analytics, Blogging, Branding, Business, Course Creation, Events, Finances, Graphic Design, Launches, Legal, Marketing, Mindset, Organizing, Planners, SOPs, Systems, Websites, and Writing
My 2 biggest tips for your folder structure are:
- Put EVERYTHING in a folder
- Don’t have a “Miscellaneous” folder. Make them all specific. If you can’t name it, you probably don’t need it.
Have Fun with Your Organization!
Your Google Drive doesn’t have to be a boring abyss. You can customize it to fit your personality or brand and make it more enjoyable to use!
Change the color of your Google Drive folders
You can change the color of your individual folders by right-clicking on them, hovering over “change color” on the list, then clicking one of the 24 available colors.
I use color for my main folders but not my subfolders. I found it was too tedious to change every folder in my drive, but you might want to use a color for each category or topic!
Add Emojis to Your Google Drive Folders
Want to take it a step further? If you like emojis, add some to your folder names for fun!
Emojis are a great way to add visual cues to your drive. Just right-click on a folder or file, click rename, and add an emoji!
I like using the website Emojipedia to find just the right emoji when I need one.
Different Views for Your Google Drive
There are a lot of different ways to view the contents of your drive aside from just clicking on every single folder and file.
List View vs. Grid View
I tend to keep my Google Drive view set to “list view” (seen below), but you can also change it to “grid view” for a more minimalist, icon style view.
Just click the grid/list button in the top right corner of your Drive to switch back and forth between the two view types at any time.
Want a more compact look for your view? Click on the cog in the top right corner of your drive to open your settings. Scroll down to “Density” and choose the setting that works best for you: comfortable, cozy, or compact.
Preview Google Drive Documents
Previewing documents without having to open them can save you a lot of time, especially when you’re trying to organize your Google Drive.
While you are in your drive, click once to highlight any file. In the top right corner, you’ll see an eye icon. When you click on the eye, you’ll get a pop-up preview of your file! You can close the preview, open the file, or even print it.
Star Your Favorite Folders and Files
Starring a Google Drive folder or file is similar to bookmarking it. It’s a way of telling Google that this is one of your most frequently used items, and you’d like quick access to it.
Right click on any item and choose “Add to Starred.” You can also right click on a starred item to remove it. Once it’s starred, you can quickly find it by viewing your Starred items from your side menu.
Google Drive Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to boost your productivity when you’re working in Google Drive (or any program!).
Press the cmd/ctrl key and / at the same time to open a full list of the keyboard shortcuts within Google Drive.
Here are a few of my favorite keyboard shortcuts:
- Enter - open an item
- n - rename an item
- p - preview selected items
- g p - go up one folder
- / - search in drive
- Cmd + z - undo last action
- Shift + f - create a new folder
- Shift + t - create a document
- Shift + s - create a spreadsheet
Memorize and use your favorites, and they’ll become second nature for you!
Google Drive Search Tips
No matter how good you are at Google Drive organization, there will come a time you need to find something using the search feature. It can also be a faster way to locate things than clicking through a path of subfolders.
Basic Google Drive Search Tips
When you search for a term in Google Drive it will check the file names, descriptions, and content. It can even search images and scanned PDFs for matches!
If you’re looking for an exact phrase, you can put the term in quotation marks. For example, if I want to search for info on Trello templates, I would type “Trello templates” into the search bar.
You can also use operators like OR (either word), AND (both words), + (include a word), or - (exclude a word).
There are quite a few search operators you can learn and use, but I think it’s easier to use the advanced search if you really need to dig deep for something.
Advanced Google Drive Search Tips
To use Google Drives’ advanced search, just click on the search options icon in the search bar.
Here are some of the ways you can filter your search:
Type (search in spreadsheets only or for a specific PDF)
Owner (great for finding files shared with you by a client)
Location (search inside one folder instead of the entire Drive)
Date (helpful for deleting old files or finding a file from last week)
Item name (search only within the file name)
Has the words (search only within the file content)
Shared to (files you shared with a specific person)
Cleaning Up Your Google Drive
From time to time, either because you’re running low on storage space or because things have gotten out of order, you’ll need to go through your Google Drive and delete some things.
I recommend removing anything that’s more than 2 years old unless it’s for financial, legal, or client purposes. In the online business world, information becomes outdated quickly. There’s no sense in hanging on to a 3 year old Instagram strategy planner because IG makes changes every month!
- Start with your highest level folder. Work through each folder and all of its subfolders before moving on to the next one.
- Delete or archive files that:
- Have not been used in the last 2 years
- Are duplicates
- Are no longer relevant
- Aren’t useful or actionable
- You could easily Google the information
- You don’t even know what it is or why you have it
Here are a few tips you can use to declutter more quickly:
- Use the advanced search feature to look for any files more than 2 years old. Delete or archive (by making a specific “Archive” folder) anything you no longer need.
- Check your storage by clicking here (while signed in to your Google account). Sort files by storage size and remove things that are taking up a lot of space.
Staying on top of your Google Drive organization will make your life so much easier. You’ll be less stressed when you’re working, save more time and energy, and actually be able to utilize the things that you’ve saved.
Use these tips to organize your Google Drive this week!
You can schedule a recurring task on your calendar to regularly clean up your Google Drive and keep it organized. The more often you do it, the more control you’ll have over the chaos caused by digital clutter.