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Need tips:paper files/multiple users.

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  • Need tips:paper files/multiple users.

    Mainly at home, but also at work, I am feeling a need to get paper items that others sometimes need (but I am ultimately responsible for) out of my general files. At home it is instructions for stuff we own, directories for organizations, rule books, driving directions, maps, phone numbers, emergency procedures, schedules of various activities, and lists of things in storage (off-site and also on-site). Here are my problems: 1) my family members leave whatever they used where ever they used it or pack it up with their personal stuff and take it to work or leave it in the car, sandwich it between newspapers that will be thrown out, write phone messages on them, etc. 2) I don't like them constantly asking me for information 3) I don't like them leaving new info. (e.g. directions to something they bought) around as clutter and then attacking me for not knowing where to find it. 4) I don't want them rummaging through my files. 5) I don't know if I want to have grandparents living will and POAs in the same file as IPOD directions, but if I am not around, someone other than me might need that. Please don't ask me to try to negotiate this, as I have tried and tried.I just need to set up a system that works.Also, I have tried to let them suffer the consequences but it become me in the end that suffers.

    I am thinking that I need to make copies for "them" and keep the rest in my own files. Seems wasteful but it works for some items that I don;t dare let the only copies be allowed to float around the house.
    At work, there is a higher level of accountability. But I would rather have an "open" file for what others might need than have all the staff feel free to use my files at will.

  • #2
    As I was reading the first paragraph, I was mentally composing a suggestion that you make copies of this important information. Then I read that you've already thought of that.

    I think copies are the best way to go. How is it wasteful? It's providing value for you and your family, at the cost of a few pieces of paper and a little ink.

    The better, overall solution is to lead your family into organization and increased responsibility for clutter. Have you considered explicit rewards and/or punishments for organized/disorganized behavior among your family, especially when it impacts your own life and ability to Get Stuff Done?


    • #3
      Perfect situation for a binder

      You could set up a binder with copies of this information so it would be accessible to all--but hopefully having it in a binder would reduce the tendency of the pages to wander off. If things go missing, you could have an index and would be able to make another copy as needed. Set aside a few minutes each week for maintenance (part of the weekly review, maybe).

      Maybe you could have a spot for it next to a copy machine so anyone who needed to could make their own copy of whatever they need.

      Perhaps access to hard-to-replace items like appliance manuals should be restricted--a check-out system perhaps, so you'd know who has it and could go looking for it after a day or so.


      • #4
        You may find some tips in the book "File, Don't Pile." It helped me set up a filing system with an index at the front so my wife (and I) can find things pretty easily. It recommends that each item have its file number written on it, so it can be returned to its proper file quickly. Not perfect, but has worked well for me for a few years.

        It is not A-Z filing as DA recommends, though, and I have been able to get my wife to agree to return things to either 1) my inbox, or 2) the top of the filing cabinet where I have an in tray just for that purpose. It is fairly easy and mindless to re-file 10-20 items just by reading their file number from the top and finding the same-labelled file folder.


        • #5
          I was a little more extreme than that...

          I keep my system in the background and for a week I told everybody that I am not keeping my systems anymore, and that I want to be relax too.

          for a week I had not phones, no papers, nothing... after a week they agree to listen to GTD Fast! is been improving slowly but improving.