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Problems filing things at work vs. home

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  • Problems filing things at work vs. home

    Hi everyone,

    I've been a GTDer for about a year now. What I find works best for me is using the next actions by context, along with a calender. The overhead of using project lists feels to great to my taste.

    I'm using the HipsterPDA (I print the sheets with my laser printer and cut them using an X-Acto knife and a ruler).

    When I first began using GTD, I remade my file cabinet drawers using freestanding A-Z manila folders. At first, I started using only ONE label (i.e. BANKING) but I ended up allowing me to use one sub-label as well (i.e. CAR - MAINTENANCE).

    I have a lot of success doing it at home, but I have more problems when I try to do it at work. Funny, eh? When I look at my desk, I have all sorts of bits of paper randomly spread out! For example, I have a Celcius/Farenheit conversion table, a book, a picture of me before/after my jaw surgery, unfiled mindmaps, unfiled business cards, a Valentine's Day card I received from my gf (!)... I seem to resist filing at work. The file cabinet is at arm's reach, but the printer and manila folders aren't (I print labels on a laser printer).

    I think that the problem is that I have too many on-going projects going on at work, with unclear outcomes. I don't have this at home : I simply pay bills and file everything once in a while using my "bill payment" kit.

    I also have a lot of items that are non-paper to file in the cabinet (spare hard drive, cables, books, scrap paper, headphones, etc...

    Did anyone ever experience this? A workable system at home but problematic one at the office?

    Thanks for your input,


  • #2
    I think that you've found the root cause to your problem yourself. You admit that the bulk of your "stuff" at work consists of unclear outcomes. And as such, you're resisting implementing the process at your office.

    I'd clarify the outcomes, figure out what the NA's are to move them forward, file the rest (circular or otherwise) and get going!

    Or, just lower your standards as to what is acceptable at work... Either one will help elevate the pressure on your subconscious mind.



    • #3
      At a very fundamental level, I'd move the file folders to within reaching distance (not swivel-and-reach), and I'd get a labeler. I'm guessing you're trying to batch process the task of labeling the folders, which highlights two problems;

      1) You don't have the folders labeled because you haven't clearly defined what each project is and its successful outcome (you're planning to somehow do that when you get around to printing the labels);

      2) Because of #1, you're letting the actionable material build up in stacks of unclear and undefined stuff.