Hey Coach friend,

If you’re feeling trapped in a cycle of creating endless subfolders and still can’t find what you need in your digital files, you are not alone! The truth is, there are simple, efficient ways to organize your digital files so you can find what you need in seconds. Stick around to learn more.

In this episode, I’ll show you how to:

  • Decide on one location to store all your digital files, using the concept of the Wonderful One.
  • Create the main file folders for your business: Operations, Marketing, My Content, Education, and Clients.
  • Sort all your digital assets into the appropriate folder categories.
  • Purge each folder and create subcategories as needed.
  • Set a regular schedule for organizing your digital files to prevent clutter from building up again.
  • Use file naming conventions to make it easier to find specific files.
  • Leave with a plan to begin today.

The key moments in this episode are:

03:24 – The Wonderful One
06:00 – Creating Main Files
10:53 – Organizing Files
14:32 – Subdividing Categories
15:09 – Sorting into Categories
16:00 – Follow your plan

Your Simplifying Expert,

Tracy Hoth's Signature

quote in a coral color, "The definition of organizing is to know what you have and be able to find it when you need it"

Resources Mentioned:

FREE File Naming Formula Cheatsheet
Get Time Freedom with a Systemized and Organized Business 
FREE Workshop: 3 Secrets to Organize Your Digital Files 

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Transcript with time stamps:

Are you ready to work less, feel more organized and productive, streamline repetitive tasks, and implement systems that allow your coaching business to run smoothly even without you? If so, you’re in the right place.

Welcome to the Organized Coach podcast, your go-to source for practical tips and solutions. I’m your host, Tracy Hoth, a professional organizer, certified life coach, simplifying expert, and most of all, a down-to-earth fellow coach just like you. No matter if you think you’re missing the organizing gene, have ADHD, or just love anything organizing, I’m here to help you become an organized coach with a business that works for you.

Pull up a seat and let’s get started.

Let’s go. The organized coach Podcast is finally here. I hope you are as excited as I am. Most of you probably don’t know that I had a podcast back in 2014 called Clutter Interrupted. My friend Chelle and I did that for an entire year.

We had 52 episodes and we interviewed famous people. Peter Walsh, I think, was our most famous person, but we also interviewed Jennifer Allwood, Lisa Jacobson, Julie Morgenstern, and so many others. We did solo episodes. I just remember sitting on Chelle’s couch where we would record with our microphones and it was so fun. We called it our radio show.

Back then, they were going to make radio stations and have shows on them. After a year, we decided we were going to pursue other things and we sold Clutter Interrupted and those episodes are no longer available. I would love it if you could listen to them, but they are not in the air any longer.

Now it’s all about I’m all about organizing online coaching businesses, helping coaches accomplish goals, get organized, and build a business that is scalable and organized, that feels easy to them.

So, of course, I’m going to use all sorts of examples and get into all the different aspects of that, from organizing your Canva account to organizing your digital files, how to create a system, where to start, how to organize your office, anything related to being a life coach and having a coaching business.

So today we are going to start with digital organizing. I have been helping so many coaches with their digital organizing, and maybe you’re wondering, where do we start? Mine is such a mess and my mind doesn’t think like that.

Have you made new folders and then forgotten where you put them? Forgot you even made them? You make another duplicate. Do you ever spend time looking for files? Maybe you have files in your Google Drive, your Dropbox on your hard drive, on your desktop, and documents all over the place. So we are going to fix that.

I have four steps today that we’re going to go through and I’m going to help you. Hopefully, I’ll try to keep it super simple so that you can take action right after this episode or at least get it on your calendar when you’re going to do these simple things, maybe even while you’re listening, you’re going to do step one. So step one is a concept that I call the Wonderful one. That is where we choose one place to keep our digital files when we have only one. It could be one software.

It could be one belt that we wear any time it’s applicable. Remember to use the concept of the Wonderful One. It reduces decision-making in your brain. So it’s very powerful, very helpful. So whenever you can use this, try to remember the Wonderful One.

Today we’re going to choose one place where you’re going to keep your digital files. So maybe right now, you have nobody else in your business, nobody else that needs to get to your files. And maybe you’re going to choose to keep them on your computer. Make sure, obviously, that you are backing them up regularly, that you have them backed up to the cloud if you want to so that you can access them when you’re away from your computer. But you are going to have that one place where you store all your files.

Maybe you have one person that’s working for you that needs access to files. If that’s the case, you would keep them somewhere else, somewhere where people can get access to them. Maybe it’s a Dropbox. Maybe it’s a Google Drive. And if you have someone that needs access, it would be a shared Google Drive.

So you’re going to decide, where are you in your business? We can always change it later, but where are you in your business? Where are you going to keep your files? That’s the first decision that you have to make to use the concept to reduce brain power and decision-making. For me.

It’s on a Google Drive. That’s where I keep my files. That’s where I want to keep all of them. So then when I add people to start working for me and they need to get into get access to different files, then I can move it to a shared drive, and it’s already there. If yours is on your computer and you are going to keep it on your computer, it’s totally fine.

You can move that to a Google Drive later if you want to, where this is not possibly applicable. Like, maybe you want to keep it on your computer, but your coach uses Google Drive. That’s totally fine too. So you won’t have a complete one base. You’ll have all your files on your computer, and maybe your coach’s files will be in my Google Drive.

That’s okay. I just want you to understand the concept and use it whenever it’s possible. So today while you’re driving, while you’re listening to this, you can decide, okay, mine’s going to be on my Google Drive. And that’s where we go. So that’s step one.

Step two is to create the main files in your business. So as you do this, you’re going to think about your business and how you separate it into categories. Everyone’s going to be different with this. But I have five names of categories that I think are pretty common in the coaching business. And you can rename them, you can name them what you want, you can add more categories, totally fine.

But let’s go through each of the categories that I think we’ll start with. One thing, as I do this, I want you to think about all the files on your computer, all the digital assets. So by digital assets, I mean PDFs, graphics, documents in your slides for a presentation and anything like that. I call that a digital asset. Think of all your digital assets and even imagine them all over the top of your desk.

They’re now paper and they’re all over your desk. And you’re going to sort those papers into categories, into your business category. So if you have a high-level view of your business and you look down, you’re going to see these five boxes that hold your digital files. So the first one is Operations. This is behind the scenes, what happens to run your business, what you do.

Now, some people, if you don’t like the name operations if that doesn’t make sense, a lot of people like the name Admin, short for administration. That’s what they would name this file in their business. So I’m going to call it Operations. Anything that would go into Operations is what’s running your business. So money, you keep track of your money in there.

Anything legal you would put in there, anything related to your teams, HR would be in there. Anything systems or processes, they would go in there. Because all of those things help run your business. So Operations is one category. So you can think of all the papers on your desk, all the digital assets in your computer that are going to go into the category of operations.

The next one is marketing. And it’s so fun talking to different coaches because one coach would use the term outward facing. She would call that outward. Anything facing outward that you are drawing people into your business, that’s marketing. So it might be your marketing branding, your headshot, your bio, or your website.

It could be marketing funnels that you have set up, your ad, graphics copy, or email copy. It would be images that you use for marketing. Maybe you have a podcast. Your podcast would go under marketing. That’s a way you market your business.

Anything marketing goes in this category. And if you call it outward facing, whatever you call it, that’s totally fine. I like to use people’s own words, what shows up in their brain, because that’s the easiest thing you can choose. The next category would be my content. That’s what I call it.

I need it to have the word my in it so that I remember it’s anything that I create. So once someone comes into my business, it’s anything that I’ve created that they get access to. It could be my programs, it could be I keep collaborations in this category. Anything that I’m doing, collaborating with someone, if I’m teaching in their program and I’ve created a slide deck, I would keep it in my content. That’s just what makes sense in my brain.

Another category here that I help people figure out is what to do with old stuff. So many coaches, and maybe you’re one of them that have had a business for several years or has gone through many different creations of programs to get to where you are now. All of that old stuff could just go into your content with the subfolder ‘old stuff’. And you don’t have to organize that right now. You don’t have to take care of it, but you know where it is.

The definition of organizing is to know what you have and to be able to find it when you need it. So if you needed to get to something older that you created, you would just go into my content, old stuff, and you would be able to find it perfect. And one day you’ll get to that or one day you could just delete it if you haven’t gone in there. So we have operations, we have marketing, and we have my content. The next category that I think every coach needs is education.

Free education and education that I paid for. I learned that from Kim Job. She had a file structure where I kept track of the things I took from that were free and that I paid for. And I love thinking about it like that.

Free education and paid education. So anything I download off the Internet, any free boot camp I went to, anything like that, I put into free. Anything that I pay for, any coaches I’ve hired, any programs I’m getting certified in or I’m a part of, I put into education paid. You may want to separate out certifications if you like getting certified in various things. You could make education with a subcategory certified certifications, and any certification program that you’re in would go in there, or you could leave it underpaid whatever makes sense for you.

So education, anything that you are getting educated on goes into that category. And I love thinking about it like this and helping coaches realize that if they hire a coach and the coach is giving them downloads and worksheets and different things, it would go into education paid and they would have the name of the coach and they would keep it all there together. But if they make something and they create something, it would go in my content. Or it could go into marketing. If it’s something specific to your funnel, it could go into marketing.

So we keep what we’re getting educated on in there. But when we take the next step and create something, it’s going to go into one of the other categories. And then the fifth main category could be clients. If you have individual clients, if you have a folder that you give them, if you have worksheets that you hand out to them, and you need access to that easily, you can put things in clients in a file called clients. One other category that some people want is ideas.

They have lots of ideas. You could make an extra category for that, or you could put those ideas specifically related to the topic. Like if it’s a client idea, if it’s an education idea, or if it’s content that you want to create, it could go in my content. If it’s something to do with marketing, it could go into marketing. One tip is to try to keep all of your categories, all of your main file folders, to keep them very broad so that it’s easy to put things away, and it’s easy to know where to put them.

You have five main categories. Everything fits into one of those categories, or maybe you add one or two more. So when you look at your business, it’s like a flowchart. You have one category, your business, and then you have five main file folders that you’re going to put everything into. We’re not going to go into subcategories, even though I gave you a bunch of ideas of what they might be.

We’ll talk about that in a future episode. But for now, you have a place where you’re going to put all your files. That’s step one. You have step two, creating file folders, and file categories. Step three is to sort.

You’re going to go into all of the files, all of the digital assets that you have, and you’re going to sort them into these five categories. So I like to split my screen, so I’d have, let’s say documents from my computer on one side, and I would have, let’s say I’m using Google Drive on the other side, and I like to slide all the folders into those five categories as fast as I can. Sorting is the first step to organizing, and we’re going to sort as fast as we can. We’re not going to open every document, and we’re not going to see how and when and remember and get nostalgic about how great it was. We’re just going to sort into categories as fast as we can.

Once you have so you’ll start, let’s say maybe you just start with your desktop because it’s so messy and you want to clean it up. So start there, sort into these categories, then maybe move to your documents, maybe move to downloads, maybe move to your Google Drive or your Dropbox, and get it all sorted into these five categories in one location. That is step three. Step four. Then once you have that finished, you’re going to go back and purge each of those categories.

You can subdivide each of those categories as you’re going through all the digital documents in there and purging them. And you can make subfolders and organize them even further. And that’s where I’m going to stop with the steps today. Let’s review. Decide the wonderful one.

Decide the one location you’re going to keep your digital file. Step two, create the category names. Create the main folders of your file structure and make the folders. Just make brand new folders. Step three, sort everything that’s all over the place into those five categories.

And then step four, go back into each folder and purge and you can make subcategories. Okay, I hope that that was helpful. I hope that it sounds easy. So when you think about it, you’re still going to have the thoughts, right? I have so many, Tracy.

If you could only see my desktop, if you only knew how many files I had and what a mess and duplicates and yes, I totally get it. I’ve seen it all. As a professional organizer for 15 years, I’ve been in the backend of coaches’ businesses. I’ve helped people organize digital assets.

And I totally get it. It could seem overwhelming. But what I want you to do is once you’ve done step one, decide on a place where you’re going to store them. The next step is to make the file folders. I want you to get that on your calendar.

I’m going to make five folders in this one place. And then step three, I’m going to sort. So get on your calendar. You’re going to sort just your documents into those five folders, then get on your calendar. I’m going to sort my downloads, then get on your calendar.

I’m going to sort my desktop. And just keep doing one little step at a time. You have a plan. You have the steps. And I encourage you to do those steps one little portion at a time.

And I want you to know, too, that I help people create this file structure on a call. And if you want to sign up for a call, you can do that at https://www.simplysquaredaway.com/CALL. You can sign up. We’ll get on the phone. I share my screen as I make your file structure. Super easy. No pressure, but it’s really helpful for you to see your business and your digital assets in a whole new light. Have fun with this. It actually can be fun.

One of my clients, I helped her create her file structure, and she said, “Tracy, now that I know what it looks like, all I have to do is go in there and sort it. And it was actually fun. I spent 2 hours. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and did it. And I had a great time.” I was like, who knew that you would actually say you had a great time sorting your digital files?

It can be fun. It actually can be once you have a clear picture of what they look like. Love you all. I will see you next week on the podcast for episode number two.

Thanks for listening to the episode. Please share this episode with your coaching bestie and tag me on Instagram @Tracyhoth. And of course, I would be so grateful if you could subscribe and leave a written review on Apple podcasts. It’s the number one way you can thank me. To thank you, go grab the file naming formula cheat sheet and watch the workshop replay three secrets to organizing your digital files. Both are linked in the show notes. Until next time, have a beautiful week.

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