One of the people who works with me has complained that a lot of clients are sharing documents with her in different "cloud" storage systems (e.g. OneDrive, DropBox, Google Docs).

Because there are a lot of smaller projects she feels she wastes a lot of time checking for new files, or trying to track down files for a particular client when she returns to their projects.

I've looked into setting up a search engine that could look through these differnt system, but it would be a fair amount of effort. Is this a common problem / is there a recommended solution? If a product we're looking for something that's ideally

3 Answers 3


So are they sharing a folder with her but not telling her when they update it? I use DropBox with many clients and some Google Drive, but I have never added files and expected them to just "know" that - or vice versa.

There are probably programs you can write to monitor the folders, and there are online project management programs like Assembla, BaseCamp, etc. where you get notifications when changes are made. But those usually cost, so I would tell the clients:

Please email me any time you update the files and want me to do something with them.

If you do proposals for new clients I would include a section on how your organization manages projects that lists this expectation.

Also, for Dropbox at least, see this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9633410/get-notified-when-a-file-changes-on-dropbox

and this: https://ifttt.com/connect/dropbox/ios_notifications

  • What they typically do is to share a folder with some work, and then add more over time. E.g. they agree to purchase five blog posts per week, and add the materials each week whenever her contact gets around to it. I think since there is also some delay between knowing files are available and doing the work, she has to remember which platform the client she's switching into and is finding that irritating. Aug 5, 2015 at 1:53

Seems to me this should just be part of a standard work routine and automation is not something which is really necessary.

...... every morning she spends 15 minutes checking OneDrive, DropBox, and Google drive for new files. This would by far be the most economical and best organized method.

Asking users to send an email when new files are added can help, but they will probably forget from time to time. So, ultimately, a few minutes every morning could easily solve the issue entirely. It's similar to .. every day she has to turn on the lights, launch an application, check emails, etc. Some things are just daily tasks which have to be done. Waiting for a notification is entirely inefficient.

  • This is only appropriate if the freelancer is being paid for her time, as a work routine is not fitting for someone being paid on a fixed price basis.
    – Xavier J
    Oct 8, 2015 at 16:09
  • It's absolutely fitting for a fixed price setting. The routine to checking servers should be built into the fixed price. It's part of doing business with that client.
    – Scott
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:45

Why not have a spreadsheet or a little app that records the client's name with their on-line storage option?

Better than "manual" remembering.

It sounds like each client uses a specific on-line storage provider. And the difficult is because of the number of clients.

A google spreadsheet with a list of client names in one column and the list of their specific Dropbox (etc) urls in the next column would work. That way the list is available wherever she is, and one click opens up a browser window.

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