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How to organize things in A-Z

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  • How to organize things in A-Z

    So I have an A-Z filing system but keep getting things muddled up and forgetting how I have filed things and so am trying to stream line how I do it.

    For example - would house insurance go under house or insurance -would i have a house section under H for all the house stuff - bills, insurances, owner details etc

    or would that go under B for bills.

    I just want to get my system set and go with it.

    Many thanks

  • #2
    For me, whatever comes to mind first. Insurance probably, in my case. The point is that it can only be in a couple of places, there's no right or wrong as such. Generally whatever pops in my head the first time round is the same as will pop into my head in the future.

    Personally I wouldnt categorise them under bills because at home I (sadly) get too many bills and would soon get a bulging folder with a dozen different types of bill in it. Id rather have a dozen folders individually names with just a few sheets in each. But it may be different for you.

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    • #3
      I had a similar problem. I never found a solution, it just went away with time and evolution of the hit and miss during filing.

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      • #4
        One possible solution could be to maintain a notebook on top of the filing cabinet with a log of all of your file folder labels, until you get used to your own filing system. It's a lot easier to scan down a notebook page and discover "Insurance - House", than to dig through all your folders reading their labels.

        And you could occasionally look over the page, to discover that at two different times you created "Insurance - House" and "Home - Insurance", and that you therefore need to combine two folders.

        Gardener

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
          For me, whatever comes to mind first. Insurance probably, in my case. The point is that it can only be in a couple of places, there's no right or wrong as such. Generally whatever pops in my head the first time round is the same as will pop into my head in the future.
          I think this is the best way. Keep it more simple Mee too, I'm using this method even on the pc for the digital reference material. I'd suggest to avoid there subfolders as much as possible.
          Last edited by clango; 05-04-2011, 11:07 AM.

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          • #6
            What's the biggest thing behind it?

            What's the first biggest thing behind it? For me, it would be the insurance company, thus filed under I.

            What about a map of my house plumbing? P or H? The biggest thing it is about is my house, so H (with subfolders for Plumbing and Electricity for instance).

            Veterinary documents for the cat... V or C or N (his name's "Nougat"). It would be N for me (indeed, it's in the same closet where cat food and toys are stored

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            • #7
              Two things come to mind.

              1. If you have an Insurance document, file it in "I." Make a next action "read insurance document (I)."

              2. I use outlook. All of my resource filing is listed as a note. Each file drawer has its own note. So everything in File Drawer no. 1 is listed in the File no. 1 note. When the "notes" button is clicked in outlook, all of the notes show up. In search, enter "insurance" and it pops up, telling me exactly which drawer the document is stored.

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              • #8
                I think I may have a connection between how I name reference information and how I break things down into my Areas of Focus.

                My AOFs are a breakdown of the components of my life grouped in a way that balances their importance to me. So I have one AOF called STUFF for everything materialistic, and this has topics inside such as House, Car, Gadgets, Clothes. I have another called FINANCIALS which covers everything money or business related.

                So along comes House Insurance. Whether I prefix this with 'House' or 'Insurance' depends on how I have broken this down in my AOFs. In my case I notice that I have car insurance already grouped with the car's documents and I have never mentioned insurance in my financials AOF, so this leads me to filing under H for House Insurance because that is how I am already thinking.

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                • #9
                  That is the beauty of the A-Z filing system. If you look under house and don't see it, you go to insurance and bingo. This for me has been a huge time saver due to its simplicity.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you for you replies guys. Very much appreciated and helpful

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                    • #11
                      Trick for remembering how you filed it

                      I have a trick for this:
                      Just make for yourself a default rule such as, when in doubt whether to label under "House" or "Insurance", use the earlier letter in the alphabet. That way when you come back to it and wonder which one it's filed under, you will always know to look for the earlier word.

                      Simple. Any similar rule would work as well, as long as you're consistent.

                      You could even combine it with what some other people said before. Go with whatever label comes to mind first. But then if neither one pops out at you as being more important, then just go with the default rule and put it under the earlier word in the alphabet.

                      Cheers,
                      a

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by abie View Post
                        I have a trick for this:
                        Just make for yourself a default rule such as, when in doubt whether to label under "House" or "Insurance", use the earlier letter in the alphabet. That way when you come back to it and wonder which one it's filed under, you will always know to look for the earlier word.
                        Now that is a cool trick!

                        Thanks for sharing.

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                        • #13
                          Use an artificial rule to streamline your decision process.

                          Originally posted by abie View Post
                          I have a trick for this:
                          Just make for yourself a default rule such as, when in doubt whether to label under "House" or "Insurance", use the earlier letter in the alphabet. That way when you come back to it and wonder which one it's filed under, you will always know to look for the earlier word.
                          I like this trick.

                          Use an artificial rule to streamline your decision process.

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