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  • Business files-personal files

    Hello all:

    I've read David's book and begun implementing the GTD system -- it's really helpful, since I have a day job as a newspaper editor, plus I am starting my own publishing company -- so basically, I have 1.5 jobs right now.

    Here's my question -- sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but if it was, I missed it: I have organized my paper files and created a filing system for my startup business. No problem there. But for the personal files (personal tax info, warranties for home appliances, that sort of thing): Should I just blend them in with the business files (sorted appropriately, of course), or should I have two separate file systems in my home-based office?

    thanks in advance

    Kate

  • #2
    A GTD purist would tell you to use ONE system for everything. I personally have two side businesses and I keep all my home stuff and stuff for both side businesses in one filing system. My full-time job stuff is in a totally separate file system, however.

    I would probably suggest that you try keeping it all in one system. Just remember to use good A-Z labels for everything. If you find that it just isn't quite working well for you, it's relatively easy to go through and segregate out the home stuff from the business stuff and set up two separate filing systems.

    Best of luck with your venture!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Business files-personal files

      Here's my question -- sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but if it was, I missed it: I have organized my paper files and created a filing system for my startup business. No problem there. But for the personal files (personal tax info, warranties for home appliances, that sort of thing): Should I just blend them in with the business files (sorted appropriately, of course), or should I have two separate file systems in my home-based office?

      While I am working with someone, I stress the importance of RETRIEVAL in using a filing system. ("It's not just about 'putting stuff away,'" I say.) Sometimes "filing complexity" is not experienced until "later." That is, it's fairly simple at times to put things in a stack of like items, or even a pendaflex of papers relating to a project or topic you're working on. However, when it comes time to go and find those materials, it can be difficult (if not impossible!) to find what you're looking for.

      I suggest clients shift the question they ask themselves as they're filing. Instead of silently asking, "Where should I put this?" ask, "Where would I look for this again?" What happens in those few milliseconds of thought is that your mind goes to the future, finds the file, looks at it, and then comes back to the present…giving you the title of the file!

      (For those of you who have been/are going to seminar, this will make a LOT of sense! If you haven't been to the Getting Things Done seminar, David talks a lot about how our minds have an easier time doing or having something if we have already "seen" ourselves doing or having it!)

      With that said, at our house, I manage most of the "personal/professional" stuff for us both. BUT, over at Jodi's work-station, she's got a whole file drawer, A-Z of "Home and Garden" information. I know from listenting to David that he has his Financials file as a separate one, again, A-Z.

      The real question could be, "Where do you want to go look for something when you need it?" Answer that one, and you may just solve the whoe issue.

      Comment


      • #4
        filing

        After reading GTD I put everything together going from A to Z and it became a retrieval nightmare. Hard to see if I had en existing folder and I could not remember the term I used for certain things. I really wanted to keep things simple but I couldn't get it to work for me. I think filing is like religion, may have try several before settling on the denomination that suits you. Maybe you'll get lucky and adopt the first one to which you are exposed. The problem with one big A to Z was too many things to walk my fingers through and the lack of cuing as to the existence of separate but related items. Also, I got concerned that if I were to hire an assistant, I could not easily lock up financials or clients. N I have one general file A to Z plus 7 categories that each have its own drawer filed A to Z . These are 1) Financial--anything we pay, need to have a record of paying or get paid by 2) Family member's health records and personal papers, such as school and employment records, passports, birth certicates (alpha by person's last name). These are the two drawers someone one would need to go through if I died tomorrow. I also have 3) Maps and travel information which is alpha by states and countries, 4)Clients A to Z, 5) reference material for my business in which I use headings that reflect the table of contents of the "bible" for my field and it is in the order it is printed in the book 6) Support and administrative materials for performing the activities of my business A to Z . And, 7) House information (anything related to the house that is not a financial record). If it is something we own, I designate that on the label, for example, I have Lighting (general information) and Lighting (we own). Once you get more than 4 drawers I think it pays to classify rather than have long runs of letters. As to stuff that other family members might need access to (directions, schedules)--I certainly can't trust them to put anything back where they got it from, so at this point I make a copy for "the family" which goes in a separate caddy on the 'frig for anything with dates or times on it that is reasonably current. My own copy goes in my own in the general alpha one. I would love to know how other people really get a straight A to Z to work for them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Filing

          David offers a useful piece of advice (among many) about a-z filing and I'll paraphrase here...

          ...put everything into one a-z file or easy retrieval until one or more subjects gets to the point where it may need its own drawer or filing cabinet...

          Kate, in your situaiton of mixed job and business start up this is probably the way to go. Initially you'll have a few papers about business setup but this is going to balloon quickly. Just move your business filing into its own drawer then cabinet and then its own Trump Tower when you are a publishing mogul

          As to financials just one file marked "F-Financials" simply doesnt work for me nor I suspect a lot of people. Life finances are way to complex for that but the a- z guide that GtD gives works just fine and Jason's advice about asking the where / how will I retireve this from the filing system in the future is a key question you need to ask.

          Filing is a 'work in progress' and I always find myself going back to GtD basics on this one. But I am becoming way more discriminating what I keep and WPB file 13 is getting used a lot more.

          If all this is too hard you could always use my original
          Biblical filing system
          'Seek and ye shall find'

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