Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Hard Copy Filing System

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Hard Copy Filing System

    Hi,

    Does anyone have a hard-copy filing system/ method that they swear by, other than the one in GTD, or a modified version?

    Does anyone really swear by the one in GTD?

    Thanks,

    Trisha

  • #2
    hard copy filing

    I could not make a simple A to Z work for me, so I have a complicated one. I found that I had to walk through too many topics to retrieve a specific item and I could not remember some things I filed under. I also have a problem mentally with filing Valentine card instructions and Value Bank Statement in the same area. And because sometimes I can't remember specific names of things but I can remember a category, it helps me to narrow the option. This is the old "I don't know where it is or what it is called exactly, but I know where to look". Also, I would like to lock the financial and personal drawers.

    Here is my system and I am open to suggestions as to simplification.
    At home:
    Box 1-Financial and Personal Documents are A to Z-all of these that have to do with money are in green folders, personal documents are in red ones by name of the person. I think I may separate these two subjects.

    Box 2 and 3-House A to Z-this is a mixture of info regarding things we own, plans, furnishings, sources for stuff, lots of reference info. If it pertains to something we own, the label ends with "we have". Eventually stuff we have will be in purple folders but still in House files.

    Reference and General:Box 4,5 and 6: everything is A to Z, within this anything that is about a person known to us or related to us is in a red folder and these are by last name. Files pertaining to people may get their own drawer soon. Within this general file stuff related to my work all starts with PROF: and will eventually get its own drawer.

    At my office, which is not at home I have 4 drawers of files:

    1. Customers A to Z
    2. Materials and forms that get given to or used with customers A to Z .
    3. Subject file-- I try to file by a word that is used in the profession and have used a major text book in the field to help with this.
    4. Bus Admin-Anything having to do with running the business.

    One thing that I do that really helps is if I can't decide between two or more headings, I just label folders with the alternatives and "see ____", then postion them within A to Z. I cut the front off the alternate folder so I will not be able to put anything in it.

    Comment


    • #3
      One thing that I do that really helps is if I can't decide between two or more headings, I just label folders with the alternatives and "see ____", then postion them within A to Z. I cut the front off the alternate folder so I will not be able to put anything in it.
      I LOVE this suggestion!

      I need to go through my hard-copy files and sort them out. I was also planning on creating a file index listing all the files, and some cross-references.

      I may still do that one day, but just creating empty 'alternate' folders could really give me the cross-referencing benefits without having to do all the work that goes into creating an index of all my files.

      Trisha

      Comment


      • #4
        Filing with Powermarks

        You may want to study this thread: http://www.davidco.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=251

        Best Regards.....Bill Kratz

        Comment


        • #5
          My filing system looks exactly as described in GTD.

          I do have one set of folders pulled out from the rest - Decorating/Craft Ideas. Those are in a separate location. I believe, though, that DA even suggests this.

          My filing needs are fairly simple, however. And I've never needed to hunt around for the appropriate filename.

          Comment


          • #6
            Sequential filing

            Here is a method I learned from someone smarter than myself, who is a frequent poster at this site! (I am sure he will immediately know who he is and -if he chooses to get involved with this thread- I would welcome his contribution. Implementing this method has been the best thing I have ever done for organizing my references!)

            I have implemented it with incredible ease and success.

            The system is based on using an indexing software that solves the problem of naming a file, because you assign keywords.

            At the suggestion of the above-mentioned person I purchased Powermarks from www.kaylon.com for about $20. This is a software used for indexing web pages (sort of a "Favorites" on steroids) and allows the user to add multiple keywords. (For David's web page one could have: david, GTD, productivity, organize, etc.) I use this software to index hundreds and hundreds of websites that I find of interest.

            The software can be "tweaked" to index paper files, as well. When I have an item to file, I just give it a sequential number and I file it in numerical order. In Powermaks I type the file number in the web address field, than I can add a title, and multiple keywords.

            To make this easier to implement I keep about 500 pre-printed labels -Avery 5267- are 80/page, numbered sequentially.

            Let us say I have a document "ABC Client meeting notes" I want to file it in my "reference" filing system... I staple the pages together and place the next available numbered Avery label on it. In the Name field in Powermarks I put a descriptive name: "Meeting notes with ABC-Client 2005-02-25". In the URL field I type the sequential number: Z006,741, than I add as many keywords that I can come up with: ABC, notes, Mike, meeting, 2005, February, 25, XYZ-project, etc. [The software allows even further information to be added, but I rarely use it.] Note: I chose to add a "Z" in front of all my sequential file numbers because it makes it easier to group them together when needed.

            Than i place the document in a folder, in which I keep 25 documents per folder. This will go in the folder labeled Z006,725-Z006,750.

            When I ever need to go back to this item, I open Powermarks and type in a keyword. (This takes care of wheter it is filed under Client, Meeting, Date, Project, etc.) Powermarks will list all web pages AND paper files that contain this keyword in one list, which is great because it makes it easy by having all information pertaining to this keyword, both physical and web resources, in front of my eyes. The document in question is identified by its Z-number, part of the list of other documents pertaining to the same keyword. The list can be further narrowed by adding a second keyword in the search field.

            At this stage, I just go to the drawer Z005,000-Z010,000, locate the Z006,725-Z006,750 folder and get my document. It doesn't bother me that it is filed between a restaurant menu (Z006,740) and an article on the proper pruning of my trees (Z005,742). My filing is no longer indexed by one word, as is the case in ALL paper filing systems, be them alphabetical, contextual, etc. All the documents are indexed by as many keywords as I choos, the indexing is done by the software and I can always add, remove or further refine my keywords on this document.

            It might appear complicated, but it took about 2 hours to get started. I began implementing this system as of a certain date, placing all new reference files in it. I slowly converted my old files (my goal was 1 inch of old files processed and indexed per day-or about 1 month per drawer-which was a little ambitious. In reality it took me 8 months to convert 5 drawers, without ever doing it more than 15-20 minutes at the time.)

            Moreover, inspired by the process, I chose to use the same method for my computer. Before all the recent desktop indexing software was made available by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, the same "someone" steered me to Enfish Find ($40) and I have never looked back. I no longer care what folder a file is in, because Enfish indexes *every word in a document* and I can find any file in 10 seconds or less!

            I have to admit that I was very reluctant at first, but I was driving myself crazy with alphabetical filing, never knowing where the insurance slip was-in the car file, bills file, insurance file, etc. Now Powermarks points its location in no time flat!

            I hope my posting was coherent enough for the readers to get the idea. I would be happy to elaborate if anyone cares.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sequential filing

              Originally posted by zzzagman
              Let us say I have a document "ABC Client meeting notes" I want to file it in my "reference" filing system... I staple the pages together and place the next available numbered Avery label on it. In the Name field in Powermarks I put a descriptive name: "Meeting notes with ABC-Client 2005-02-25". In the URL field I type the sequential number: Z006,741, than I add as many keywords that I can come up with: ABC, notes, Mike, meeting, 2005, February, 25, XYZ-project, etc. [The software allows even further information to be added, but I rarely use it.] Note: I chose to add a "Z" in front of all my sequential file numbers because it makes it easier to group them together when needed.

              Than i place the document in a folder, in which I keep 25 documents per folder. This will go in the folder labeled Z006,725-Z006,750.

              When I ever need to go back to this item, I open Powermarks and type in a keyword. (This takes care of wheter it is filed under Client, Meeting, Date, Project, etc.) Powermarks will list all web pages AND paper files that contain this keyword in one list, which is great because it makes it easy by having all information pertaining to this keyword, both physical and web resources, in front of my eyes. The document in question is identified by its Z-number, part of the list of other documents pertaining to the same keyword. The list can be further narrowed by adding a second keyword in the search field.

              At this stage, I just go to the drawer Z005,000-Z010,000, locate the Z006,725-Z006,750 folder and get my document. It doesn't bother me that it is filed between a restaurant menu (Z006,740) and an article on the proper pruning of my trees (Z005,742). My filing is no longer indexed by one word, as is the case in ALL paper filing systems, be them alphabetical, contextual, etc. All the documents are indexed by as many keywords as I choos, the indexing is done by the software and I can always add, remove or further refine my keywords on this document.
              I would suggest different numbering system Zdffn where:
              --- Z is Z character;
              --- d is drawer identifier (A to Z - up to 26 drawers);
              --- ff is folder identifier (AA to ZZ - up to 676 folders per drawer);
              --- n is document identifier (A to Z - up to 26 documents per folder).
              For example ZAPPA identifies first document (A) in PPth folder in drawer A.
              This scheme can handle up to 26*26*26*26=456976 documents. If you limit number of folders per drawer to 200 (as in your system) up to 26*200*26=135200 can be numbered.
              TesTeq

              Comment


              • #8
                True hard copy filing geeks might want to browse the glossary posted at the website of the Society of American Archivists.

                http://www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp

                Splat

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am just getting started in GTD, and haven't figured out my filing system yet. Overall, I tend to agree with Jamie - some things just don't below together! I expect that I'll end up with one set of files for "old bills and statements", which all get processed at once (thus it'll be quicker to leave that drawer open anyway), and one for everything else. Most of my life is electronic, so there are very few paper files anymore (I'm a student for a while, so luckily I don't have all the corporate correspondence, presentations, etc. to worry about, and when the semester's over most of it goes in the trash).

                  I do really like the "hyperlink folder" suggestion that Jamie made; I wouldn't do it for everything, but I think that I could make a habit of doing it every time I looked under the wrong letter for something.

                  One neat tool I bought, but haven't started using yet, is Smead Viewables labels. I don't like the look of Dymo labels on my folders, plus I'm always annoyed by file labels that block other ones. If I were to start using an alphabetical system, I'd want to be constantly rearranging the hanging tabs to stay linear, and that would take up "psychic RAM". But I was at Staples, and saw the Viewables; they're clever 3D tabs so you can use "straight line filing" and see the index label from above. Plus it comes with color-coding software that remembers the labels you've used on the page, so you can keep feeding it back through the printer, instead of tossing a half-printed sheet. (I do wonder about the possibility of the labels getting jammed, tho, now that I think about it.)

                  It's ridiculously expensive (something like $25 for the starter package, and $8 for a 25-label refill), but I think (hope) they'll be worth it. They sure look pretty on the box:

                  http://www.smead.com/Director.asp?NodeID=513

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Obviously, there are widely divergent views on filing systems, and everyone has to find what works for them. For me, DA's simplified filing system is one of the most valuable things I've learned from him. I do it just the way he suggests, with a few modifications (everyone seems to need a few modifications). The great things about DA's system are that it has no structure (other than A-Z), and it's ok to create a folder for a single piece of paper. I can't tell you how many years I struggled with suggestions from "experts" about how to hyper-organize, color-code, etc. my filing system. It never worked -- it was too much trouble to create the system, too much trouble to update it, and there was always something that didn't fit into any pre-determined category. FINALLY, I am getting rid of the piles of paper around my house because I know where to put things -- if I don't have a folder for something, I just create one and that's that. (Thank you, David!!) This is equally true at work, although it was more of an issue at home because there were so many bits of paper/information that didn't really belong with anything else.

                    These are my modifications:

                    (1) My work-related files are in my office, meaning that most of my files at home are personal/family. Very little overlap. Although I often bring work home, I don't keep it there.

                    (2) I put my genealogy files in a separate file drawer since that constitutes, essentially, one large project file.

                    (3) In the kitchen, I have an accordian folder for filing all of the stuff that I get in the daily mail, which I don't expect to look at again, but might need in case of an IRS audit, dispute over a bill, etc. -- i.e., credit card statements, health insurance forms, bank statements, utility bills. I keep it in the kitchen so I can drop things in there as I open the mail (rather than piling it on my desk). I start a new accordian folder each year. I then label the prior year's folder and put it on the top shelf of a closet. After 7-10 years, I'll toss or shred the contents.

                    (4) Most ordinary receipts (the ones I don't need for tax or other purposes) go into a monthly envelope. I shred each month's envelope about 2 months after the end of that month.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm new here but I've been lurking for a bit and have enjoyed the flow of ideas.

                      Originally posted by Jay Levitt

                      ...

                      One neat tool I bought, but haven't started using yet, is Smead Viewables labels.

                      ...

                      I've found the Smead Viewables to be very helpful, though I use them only for subject headings in my Reference/Research files, so every file folder doesn't have one. Much easier to read, imo. If you use an inkjet printer, I recommend that you use the enclosed clear protector labels, especially if your inkjet uses dye-based inks. (Condensation dripping from an iced tea glass is not your friend.)

                      I do use my Dymo label printer (the kind that prints on paper address labels) for each file folder since the labels are clear and readable and not shiny (which means there's no reflection to make it hard to read) and I can get multiple lines on each label if I feel the need. That's obviously just personal taste.

                      Since my household files aren't complicated I can get by with subject rather than A-Z headings. I do keep the subject headings in alphabetical order, though. (I keep tax receipts/paperwork filed in a separate area.)

                      Tricia

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In your A-Z filing system-WHAT GOES WHERE for EXAMPLE?

                        So if you get a Phone Bill does it go in "P-"PHONE" or "BILLS-Phone" ??

                        This is the problem I have with everything.

                        another example:

                        I have invoices from vendors of equipment. Some of the invoices are for my company, some are for my clients. Do I put them all in invoices? or do I put the invoices for certain clients into the clients own folder? What if the invoice has items for Both my clients and my business?

                        There are so many CROSS Catagories items that IM STUCK!!! aghh.

                        The progress feels great, getting stuck just hurts that much more!! heheh

                        Thanks for any Tips!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In your A-Z filing system-WHAT GOES WHERE for EXAMPLE?

                          In your A-Z filing system-WHAT GOES WHERE for EXAMPLE?

                          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          So if you get a Phone Bill does it go in "P-"PHONE" or "BILLS-Phone" ??

                          This is the problem I have with everything.

                          another example:

                          I have invoices from vendors of equipment. Some of the invoices are for my company, some are for my clients. Do I put them all in invoices? or do I put the invoices for certain clients into the clients own folder? What if the invoice has items for Both my clients and my business?

                          There are so many CROSS Catagories items that IM STUCK!!! aghh.

                          The progress feels great, getting stuck just hurts that much more!! heheh

                          Thanks for any Tips!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think the theory is, you rely on your brain to come up with the same place when you try to retrieve an item as the place you chose to put it in the first place. And the fall back is, if your first attempt fails, you can be almost certain you'll get it on the second or third attempt.

                            So, to me the most obvious place to file the phone bill would be in a folder called "Phone Bills" (i.e. in the P area). So I'd put it there. OK, so when I try to retrieve it I may wonder if it was in a folder called "Bills - Phone" (i.e. in the B area), or even under "Utilities - Phone" (i.e. U). But 99% of the time, there is a "most obvious" choice - I rely on that. Accessing a file on average the first time, very occasionally the second, and rarely having to go to a third attempt, is a pretty good system.

                            Trust your brain.

                            --


                            Originally posted by vj kEvLaR
                            So if you get a Phone Bill does it go in "P-"PHONE" or "BILLS-Phone" ??

                            This is the problem I have with everything.

                            another example:

                            I have invoices from vendors of equipment. Some of the invoices are for my company, some are for my clients. Do I put them all in invoices? or do I put the invoices for certain clients into the clients own folder? What if the invoice has items for Both my clients and my business?

                            There are so many CROSS Catagories items that IM STUCK!!! aghh.

                            The progress feels great, getting stuck just hurts that much more!! heheh

                            Thanks for any Tips!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A useful approach for me is to file bills under the name of the vendor, not the generic class. Phone bills go under "Verizon," bank statements go under "Bank of America," and so forth. This works because the vendor name always appears in a prominent place on the statement. I don't have to think about where to file it, I just have to read what's in front of me.

                              Katherine

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X