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Hit chap.5 and got stuck! Catagory Creation Problems...

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  • Hit chap.5 and got stuck! Catagory Creation Problems...

    Well I got to chapter 5 and realized..my whole apt. is going to have to be my inbox. I grew up in a house of Pack "rats".... Both my mother and father would keep things "Just in case we need them". Now im not talking junk but probablly useful things, but 'probablly' will never be used again by US, things.

    Of course I inherited this trait, perhaps its genetic. Anyhow to the point.

    I moved out from my house at 17 and started my career. My housing situation until about age 23 was a flux state, moving sometimes 2-3 times a year. Everytime I moved I created a whole new set of boxes with STUFF. Now, at age 26, I have lots and lots of stuff and i've begun the trash and sort migration of it all.

    I think that I should finish the book ASAP but Ive gotten so motivated to clear out the Progress Anchors (aka Stuff) that ive jumped into a between chapter stage- Funneling everything to in/Sorting out my filing/Throwing it all away.

    I've been taking action on things, but then getting stuck at the filing or sorting stage. I end up dwelling on the desire to not put things in a BAD, or my old filing system and end up retiring from the project. This ends up becoming a day or week avoidence of my historical problem.

    Im not sure of the 'Right' catagories to give things. For example, I have reciepts for business, office supplies,clothes, food-business, food-groceries, ect ect. I'm tempted (for example) to lable them "Purchase Reciepts-Food-Personal" But that doesnt seem right?

    Does anyone have any EZ tips to make my Business and Personal filing all make sense? Any rules for Catagories that will make it all MORE logical?

    Is this all described later then chapter 5??

    Thanks for the GREAT start David A. and thanks for your help anyone else!!

    Time to make sure I finish the book!

    kevlar@skoolhouse.com

  • #2
    Filing categories are entirely up to you. What structure will make it easiest to find things?

    For myself, I find that a few broad categories works better than lots of small ones. Of course, "narrow" and "broad" are themselves subjective. A doctor is likely to have reference files for lots of specialities that I would simply lump together under "medical."

    For receipts, all you really need to keep are (a) documentation for tax deductions, (b) credit card receipts for which you haven't yet reconciled the statement, and (c) receipts needed to document a purchase for warranty claims and/or returns. Everything else can just be thrown away or shredded. In most cases, anything more than seven years old can also be thrown away or shredded.

    I file all my personal receipts together in one check file, my business receipts in another. (A check file is an accordion file the right size for checks, with one pocket per month.) I file credit card statements, bank statements, etc. by account name, with a different color file for each year. After I do my taxes, I move the previous year's files to long term storage.

    For general packrat hood, a useful rule to follow is that anything you haven't touched in a year can be safely thrown away or sold. Remember that if you have so much stuff that you can't find something when you need it, then you're going to end up buying another one anyway.

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks. Further help..

      Thanks Katherine. Great Advice.

      Just so im sure I understand. A seperate check file for my business and personal. Seperate each section in the check file as a month. I like this approach.

      Here is a quote from another post I put up. Whats your take on this?

      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?

      Im thinking making the following files:

      (for this example YAY.Inc is my business)
      YAY.Inc-Invoices
      YAY.Inc-Phone Bills

      Client 1.inc-Invoice
      Client 1.inc-Estimates
      ect.ect.

      I think im getting the idea, I guess for anything (mostly invoices) that belongs in two catagories I will just file in my company file and if I cant find a clients invoice later, always go to my company file?

      Comment


      • #4
        Some thoughts

        I completely sympathize with your plight--my house was my inbox too.

        Here's some thoughts that may or may not be useful....

        - Get your filing location set up first.

        - If you have an existing filing system, but don't trust it (i.e., BAD system you mentioned), put your NEW system in a new location. In other words, consider all your old files UnProcessed Items.

        - I used David's alphabetical system very purely. When I touch something, I say AHA--Invoice for Horse Stuff, I'll put it in a file labelled HORSE STUFF and file it under H. Now, several weeks later, I see that the HORSE STUFF folder is way too big. Since it will only take a couple of minutes to do, I just create two new folders: HORSE VET and HORSE SUPPLIES. And I sort the original file into the two sections. I'm finding this fluidity very comforting.

        - Let me restate that last comment in simpler terms. For now, it doesn't matter if you put INVOICES-CLIENT and INVOICES-PERSONAL or INVOICES-JOE CLIENT. Set up the first thing that comes into your mind. It doesn't matter. You aren't committed to this. If you find later that you need to be finer grained, you can do it then. Perfect is good, Finished is better.

        - Try to resist the urge to collapse the Collect/Process/Organize into one step. It may seem to take longer to do the three steps separately, but your mind works better when you only focus on one thing.

        Hope this helps.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by vj kEvLaR
          Just so im sure I understand. A seperate check file for my business and personal. Seperate each section in the check file as a month. I like this approach.
          Yes, that's how I do it.

          Keep in mind, though, that my business is very small. A more complex business might require a more complex system.

          Originally posted by vj kEvLaR
          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 a couple of different approaches that could work:

          File the invoices by vendor, and simply mark the invoice or the item as being for a client or for you. This is the way I would do it if the purchases for any individual client were relatively small.

          OR

          File the invoices with the client (or client project) to which they belong, with your own purchases in a separate file. When an invoice contains purchases for both you and a client, make a copy of the invoice and put one copy in each place. This is the way I would do it if I made substantial purchases for clients, especially if the client required documentation of the purchases. This might also be the way to do it if you have more than one vendor for a given kind of item. For example, if you buy computer equipment from three different suppliers, you want to be able to find the invoice even if you can't remember which supplier sold you a particular widget.

          Originally posted by vj kEvLaR
          Im thinking making the following files:

          (for this example YAY.Inc is my business)
          YAY.Inc-Invoices
          YAY.Inc-Phone Bills

          Client 1.inc-Invoice
          Client 1.inc-Estimates
          ect.ect.
          That looks completely reasonable to me. You could also consolidate all the materials for Client 1 into a single file, depending on the quantity of materials. If your project for Client 1 is a one-shot, you don't need as much granularity as you would if you have an ongoing relationship with them.

          Good luck!

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            whole house is in box

            Dear Guest,
            I am 1/2 through the same problem and since I have many obligations and have not yet found a way to use an assitant, it hs taken abut 18 months. It is going faster and each work session gets more efficent. Here are my suggestions.

            First, have faith and be persistent, try to do some thinking up front and end each work session postiviely, not in exhausted frustration. You can do that by literally writing a step (next action) that is so clear you know when it is done, like "process today's mail per GTD" and "process first one foot stack of recent stuff". Do try to work in 30 minute segments, use the first 5 to hink and warm-up and the last 5 to note your progress and highight what worked.

            Second, here are some suggestions:
            Brain storm your categories first. It is easier to set up a bunch of folders first and then start sorting. However, you will "discover" and create some as you go along. There are probably many alternatives that would work so don't sacrifice "good" in an effort to get to "best" at the start. Think about what you need your papers for and that might help you also. Be sure to write out the outcome you desire for the project first --this should be a short sentence not a mission statement. You may have sub-projects and defered projects (SDMBs). If you have sub-projects you maybe treat them as projects and just keep the overall project as your goal, as it is too big too do. Make sure you have a huge trash receptacle as you want no physical impediments to trip up your mental energy's flow. Set up your basic system. GTD suggests A to Z only but this did not work for me, but you should avoid complex hierarchies and file heads that are supposed to trigger your thinking-all that could be in a list. My suggestion here is not really GTD but it is working for me. Get as many bankers cartons as you think you will end up with, given the situation and the space available. You will need at least 6 (probably many more) then label one each as follows. Business: Financial, Business:Personnel, Business: Customers, Business:Reference and Projects. Within each it would be A to Z. Personal/Family:Financial, Personal/Family:Personal Documents and Essential Records (label folders by last name and expect to need 3 to 4 for each person as you will have documents like birth certificates and passports, education, health records, and maybe wills. Finally, you will have your own general reference file. You will also need a box, cabinet or container for office supplies that are hidden in your piles. Band-aides, hand lotion, and a labeler help. But, if you do not have labeler, use a good marker like a Sharpie (get a box of them), they have a way of disapearing.

            In the event that you find that you are stuggling with what to file something under, take a folder, cut off the front and write the file head and then "See ___".

            Good Luck!

            Comment

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