suggestions for setting up physical folder structure

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Evan Siegel, Oct 5, 2017.

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  1. Evan Siegel

    Evan Siegel Registered

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    Hi...I am wondering how people setup their reference folders (physical that is). I believe the book says David uses A-Z but the problem I see with this is mixing and matching. For instance, if I did this I might be stuffing 'invoices' and 'instruction manuals' all into the same folder. Perhaps I do A-Z and just use sub categories for each letter as in both instructions and invoices would be their own folders behind a parent 'I" folder.
     
  2. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    We use A-Z order of folders. Not 26 A-Z folders. For example you can have 3 drawers of folders:
    1: A-H (100 folders)
    2: I (100 folders: Ice Machines, Igloo Design, Iguanas, Image Processing, Instruction Manuals,... Invoices Alabama, Invoices Alaska, Invoices Arizona,... Invoices Wyoming, Inspiring Quotes, Interrogation Techniques,... )
    3: J-Z (100 folders)
     
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  3. Castanea_d.

    Castanea_d. Registered

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    I use A-Z ordering also. Four-drawer filing cabinet with hanging folders. Within the hanging folders, there are often manila sub-folders. For example "Budget" with sub-folders for 2015, 2016, 2017, etc.

    I have two sets of physical files - the four-drawer cabinet is at work, and we have a two-drawer cabinet at home, likewise A-Z. For everything except physical reference files, I have home and work projects, TBDs, etc. all in one set of lists. But for the physical files, I don't want to mix work and home.
     
  4. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    You just sort the folders into order by first letter not that there are only 26 folders.

    So I have Flock Records-2016 and Flock Records-2017 in the F section and Sheep Disease-OPP and Sheep Parasites in the S section but they are all individual folders.

    I have 3 four drawer file cabinets and 3 two drawer file cabinets full of my physical filing folders.
     
  5. Evan Siegel

    Evan Siegel Registered

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    so i think for me the way to do this is A-Z, with a 'parent' folder being the letter, then individual hanging files for anything beneath a specific letter and then sub folders. So for 'taxes', I would have a blank hanging folder labeled 'T', then a second hanging behind that labeled 'Taxes', and then inside the hanging folder I'd have as the user said above, manilla type folders each with a year so '2015', '2016'...

    the problem with creating a folder every time you have something is that it somewhat incentives you to keep stuff you don't need b/c you know you can always 'create' a place for it. If, on the other hand, you have a 'fixed' structure, then are you are forced to really ask yourself, is what i have important enough that it deserves to go into my limited amount of folders.
     
  6. Dragon

    Dragon Registered

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    This is a benefit, rather than a problem. Your filing system should enable you to file anything quickly and easily with a minimum of resistance. Forcing yourself to ask questions before filing something and agonizing over whether you should keep it is precisely the kind of resistance and inefficiency you should avoid creating for yourself. You can periodically purge your files to get rid of anything you don't want to keep any more, but putting stuff into your system should be as effortless as possible.

    If there's any doubt as to whether you should keep something, it's entirely up to you whether to have a policy of keeping it just in case, or a policy of throwing it away.
     
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  7. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    Well in my experience after trying various levels of hanging folder systems I decide they were far more effort to maintain than I gained. I just file the manila folders in order alphabetically. Fast, simple and easy to locate. Hanging folders create more problems than they solve IMO.

    The goal of filing is to make it so simple and easy that you don't worry about creating a folder for a single sheet of paper that you might want.

    Personally I am more comfortable with keeping stuff. My default is when in doubt keep it. Folks in areas with constantly on high speed Internet may feel differently, but I often need to refer to stuff that I might have been able to get on the Internet but the connection isn't available to me when I ned the item, SO I keep both as electronic files and hard copy a lot of things others would just toss.
     
  8. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    This issue is discussed perfectly by David Allen in his book. I'm sure you've read about creating new folders on page 101 and about purging on page 103. (GTD 2015, Kindle edition)
     
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