Flatter folder structure?

These days I have been designing my J.D structure and now I’m at a point where I want to really give it a try. I have an AC.ID system (I decided against projects, because I have many stuff that isn’t easily categorized into a single project and I don’t want to create a mess of symlinks). I’m not sure my scheme is optimal and I may be making some wrong decisions, but that doesn’t worry me a lot, because I’m pretty sure even if it’s suboptimal, it will still be much better than the writhing mess of primal chaos that I currently have.

So I was going to start moving folders around, when I thought the following: do I really need the area folders “10-19 Personal”, “20-29 Research”, “30-39 Teaching”, etc. to be filesystem folders? Why not a flat folder structure, directly with

21 Research ideas
22 Papers
23 Presentations

28 Grant requests
31 Course materials
32 Course organization

After all, the hierarchy is already implicit in the numbering (i.e., I know that 2 is an area, in this case research, and 3 another, in this case teaching - the numbers themselves are giving me the information that those categories belong to different areas, even without explicit nesting).

The cons I can see are:

  • The names of the areas aren’t directly seen when browsing the filesystem (but this doesn’t look too bad because there are only 6, so they’ll probably become ingrained very soon. And even if I see it as a problem, it could be averted by renaming the categories, e.g. 21 Research.Ideas, 22 Research.Papers, etc.)
  • More scrolling. But I don’t think I’ll have much more than 30 categories, and the ordering and numbering provide a good idea of how much to scroll, so it’s not the end of the world.

The pros would be:

  • Less clicking.
  • For a few categories that can be a bit ambiguous as to what area they belong to, it can be easier/faster to make a visual search, rather than having to go into the different areas.

Any thoughts about this? I’m quite convinced of trying it but I wonder if there’s an obvious pitfall I’m missing, or if someone tried this and failed.

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I’m okay with this idea. The more I use JD the more I realise that it’s the categories that make a thing. You’re just using those categories directly rather than stashing them in an area.

Where this might not work is if the system is shared — say if you were using it at work. The point of the 10 areas is that a new person coming to the system, or a forgetful you, only has 10 places to look for a thing. Now, in the worst case, that might be 100. So it’ll be more difficult.

But if this is only ever going to be your system and you’re comfortable that you’ll know where things are, go for it. Let us know how it works out.

@Al-Khwarizmi: an interesting idea. The drawback I see is that beyond e.g. 21 Research ideas you have no granularity, so all research ideas will be chucked into 21.

Or do you intend to have 21.01, 21.02, etc. after all?

I’m going to give it a try! In the worst case, it would be quite easy to move to the traditional folder layout anyway.

@KlaasVaak: Yes, I would still have the items inside the folder for each category.

21 Research ideas
|- 21.01 Infinite energy generator
|- 21.02 Personal teleporter
|- 21.03 Time machine

(Ideas made up for the sake of example :grinning:)

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Oh and by the way this is how I often use folders in Outlook, when I’m in an organised-email mode. I skip the areas and go straight to the categories.

For the record I am currently very much not in an organised-email mode and everything is just in one hot mess of an inbox. :upside_down_face: