Dropbox: Part of my GTD system

In some of my posts I have been describing how I use Evernote as my GTD cockpit. Another part of my trusted daily GTD system is my Dropbox account. Some time ago I made a separation between general reference files and what I call documents at work.

The general reference files on my computer do have their own directory structure. There is a basic three folder approach. Work related files, my own private related files and a knowledgebase directory. I don’t have a lot of subdirectories, I am on a Mac and completely trust Spotlight to find whatever file I need based on a couple of words from the original document. The work and private related files are mostly project related and are from projects that are already finished. Time Machine and Mozy make sure that data is replicated on an external disk and on the Internet.

For work at hand I use a free Dropbox account. The basic idea is that you can store 2 GB of files in your Dropbox and you can access that data through the Web on every computer that has Internet access. But the real power lies in the desktop clients, currently for Mac and Windows. When you install Dropbox on the client you will have a folder set up on your local computer. Any file you drop in that directory gets automatically synced to your online storage. You can attach more that one computer to one Dropbox account so files are replicated on the different computers. You don’t have to be online to be able to access the files.

I have Dropbox installed on my iBook G4 for when I am on the road. At home I have it installed on our Intel iMac. I can work on all project and other related files from both computers and know that I have the most up to date version of the file. Because Dropbox has an excellent iPhone enabled web interface I also can view my files from my iPhone. When working on a client computer or a public computer I have access to all my files through the Dropbox webinterface.

Dropbox also has the ability to roll back revisions of documents. So you can even revert back to files in case something went wrong. Even if you delete files from your Dropbox you can restore them in the Web Interface. I have been using it for months now with no problems so far.

In this screenshot you see the directories I have in my Dropbox account. The @Home and @Work folders hold files for projects I currently work on as well as other context related files.

Read&Review holds files (mostly pdf files) I want to read when time permits. The Reference folder holds reference documents I want to have at hand always. The photos folder is for well photos and the public folder is for sharing files with others.

Dropbox gives you two options when you want to sign up: the free account gives you 2 GB of storage and the $99 dollar a year (or $9,99 a month) paid subscription gives you 50 GB of storage.

But here is a catch for you. They have started a referral program. If you sign up for a free account using this link you will get an extra 256 MB of storage free. I will also get an extra 256 MB of storage. I have found so far that 2 GB of free storage is enough for my use of Dropbox in the GTD workflow I have setup. But having some more space won’t hurt ­čśë

I regularly purge my Dropbox by archiving project related files from projects already finished.

So if you want to give Dropbox a try, here is a good change!