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Organizing Correspondence

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  • Organizing Correspondence

    Hey folks.

    I just attended the GTD Seminar in Chicago. It was outstanding. I am almost all the way to getting In to Out.

    I am looking for a good system for organizing correspondence. I have an a-z filing system, but put all correspondence into one big file titled, oddly enough, "Correspondence." Is it best and easiest to:

    1) Continue this practice.
    2) Create reference files for every person
    3) Arrange correspondence in project or topical reference files.

    Thanks for your suggestions.


  • #2
    Here is what do--If it's correspondence I created, I create it digitally and store it digitally. In the "My Documents" folder on the C drive, I have a folder called "Memos and Letters." It's all stored there. I name the document as follows: Last name of the person, a dash, and a few words about the subject matter. If it's an e-mail, it's capyired in the "Sent Items" of Outlook.

    As for stuff that comes to me, if its digital, I store it in the "Memos & Letters" folder. If its an e-mail that comes to me and I want to same it, I chosse "Save As" and point to the Memos & Letters folder (rather than saving it in Outlook).

    As for paper correspondence that comes to me, if it relates to a project, it goes in the project support file for that project. For anything else, I have 26 folders labeled A-Z. When I get a letter from Mr. Smith, I take whatever action I deem necessary. At the point where that letters simply becomes a reference it, it goes in the BACK of the "S" folder. Chances are I will never have to look at the letter again, so I want a system that makes filing as quick as possible. If I do need the letter, I know its in the "S" folder, and I think in terms about what time of year I received since the items are filed chronologically.

    Once per year, I pull out all 26 folders and eyeball every item for about 2 seconds each. Most of the items go in the trash can. The remaining ones go in a folder called "Correspondence-2003" (or whatever the year is). By default that file is semi-alphabetical. The letters from Allen and Adams are towards the front and the one from Yarbrought is towards the back.


    • #3

      If I remember correctely, basic GTD says to do something like this:

      --> Do you need to do anything with/for it? Put it in the related action context folder. I personally use just one folder called "Action Support"

      --> Is it project support material? Put it in the appropriate project support folder.

      --> Do you need to think on it a bit? Put it in the tickler file

      --> Is it pure reference? Put it in the appropriate reference folder. (Which letter you file under is up to you -- client name, project name, etc.)

      I don't get much hard copy paperwork, so my stuff is organized on the computer. I used to use GoldMine but have been using Time Matters for the past few weeks and I like that a lot. I can simply open a project and click the Docs tab to see paperwork, web tab for related sites, email tab for email, billing tab, etc. And I can see at a glance if there are next actions scheduled, and where I am in the progress of things. Same applies to just contacts (without active projects).

      Hope that helps,