File Management Fatigue

It’s possible that I’m losing my willingness to constantly deal with naming, organizing, managing, and backing up hundreds or thousands of files. I think what’s happening is that I’m suffering from File Management Fatigue.

How many of my daily interactions with computers involve a file dialog of some sort? Too many! Save As…”, Open…”, Move to…” and friends are a constant interruption. I have entire workflows built around managing files using Emacs.

I spent the past month organizing files using yet another system1.

My photos are in a carefully constructed hierarchy of folders. Each photo has been precisely named using one of about 35 different naming conventions I’ve switched to over the years. They are a well-organized mess, is what they are.

I guess I’m just tired of thinking about it. It’s embarrassing to think about how much time I’ve spent managing files. Or worse, how much time I’ve spent thinking about managing files.

And for what? In a couple years Spotlight or Siri or whatever will probably do all of this for me. Hey Siri, please summarize, organize, tag, and rename all of the files here based on content and context, thanks.” What do you bet that the results of that will be plenty good enough?

A side effect of this feeling has been a shift toward apps that abstract away file names. I’ve been putting stuff again into TiddlyWiki. I’ve been taking notes using Bear. I’ve been blogging with Scribbles and Pika2. I’m even journaling again with Day One. Each of those abstracts away the file names, but allow me to easily get at” the underlying files via export. There’s some comfort in that.

What will likely happen is that after a week I’ll become twitchy about not having a Reveal in Finder” option and so I’ll fall back into my comfort zone full of files. That’s OK too. I know how to deal with files. I’m just tired of doing it.

  1. If you must pick a system, Johnny Decimal is a good one.↩︎

  2. You’ll notice this post is using Blot, which means it’s a Markdown file that I had to create myself and put in the correct place using the correct name. See what I mean?↩︎