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Basic getting started question -- folders/file setup

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  • Basic getting started question -- folders/file setup

    I've got everything collected, and am setting up folders. I'm stuck on exactly how to organize this.

    1. DA mentions 4 'letter trays' -- I have one each for "IN", "OUT", "READ/REVIEW" -- is there another that I'm missing?

    2. I have a Tickler File in a file box on my desk. I also have a Reference file drawer set up. But I'm not sure how to handle everything else -- I'm using Outlook to manage action items, but where do I put backup needed? For instance, I have an insurance document that I have a question about before I file it -- so on my @Call list is "Call insurance agent" -- where do I put the document so that I can refer to it when I call her? In a folder marked 'Call"? Where do I keep the folder?


  • #2
    Oops ... forgot one more question

    Where do I file Project backup? It seems like I might need another desktop file box for Action Item Backup.

    I know I'm probably overthinking this, but humor me...



    • #3
      I am no expert
      I would however put all insurance information under "I" in my A-Z filing
      Hope that is helpful


      • #4
        I'm no expert either... But I think the important thing is to keep your reference filing and your action item backup material absolutely separate from each other - so that there aren't any possible next actions, open loops, or whatever, hiding in your reference files.

        Personally, I keep action-item backup material in a separate bunch of folders organised by project, which I store in a portable file box (I don't have that many live projects, so I literally do carry this around with me).

        When I have action-item backup material that doesn't relate to any project, but just to a standalone next action, I just stick it at the front of the box. Works for me - but again, I am dealing with pretty small amounts of paper.


        • #5
          I keep an action support folder for each context (with a few, like @Errands and @Anywhere, combined). These are with me always in my laptop bag - I carry them from work to home and back again.


          • #6
            I found the fourth in-box useful when my huge cat leapt onto the stack and broke one. If you have animals who throw themselves into your organizing efforts, take a tip from me and spring for sturdy wood or metal trays.


            • #7
              Thanks ...

              for the ideas, and the laugh (picturing my 60-lb dog making the leap to the top of my inbox ...)

              My 22-gallon Sterlite container is empty
              I ended up with 4 "inboxes" -- In, Out, Read/Review, and Next Action Support.

              However, with the tickler file also on my desk, I don't have much desk space left.

              Where do I file the 'Someday/Maybe'? I'm tempted to put it in the front of the reference drawer -- or maybe under "S" in the reference drawer.


              • #8
                I use a letter tray called "pending" (aka action support) to hold things like that insurance document until the question is answered.

                It is important that nothing gets into the pending tray unless there is already an action related to it in my trusted system. That is, the pending tray is not a dumping ground for unprocessed items.

                For projects with long-term or many pages of material, I create a separate folder per project or sub-project. For my largest projects, I have multiple folders and binders. For example, I have an active project with a 3" ring binder, a 1" ring binder, three stick-files of engineering drawings, and twelve manilla folders.