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  • Implementation order / filing system

    Hi there!

    I'm just about to start my implementation of GTD after I've read the book twice.
    But as I wanted to beginn some questions came up...

    1. What is the best implementation order? Filing system first?

    2. I'm still at school so what kind of filing system (drawer, banker boxes,...) do I really need. The system has to be inexpensive due to my finacial situation.

    3. Should I put all my files such as phone company contract, bank stuff, insurance papers, warranty information, school stuff (bills etc.) in the general reference filing system?

    It would be great to hear your opinion. Maybe you even have resources about GTD for students.

    Cheers
    Wolfgang

  • #2
    First off, I just wanted to say good luck!

    In response to your questions:

    1) I found that when I was doing my implementation, the filing system was something that just grew organically. I wouldn't have been able to know what to create without first figuring out what I had, so I would say leave that until you are in the process. As you're doing your first major processing, make sure you've got a stack of file folders and a labeller or pen and the system will grow as you add the folders that you find are required.

    2) As far as the system you need, it can really be anything. That's one of the joys of GTD, its flexible like that. For instance, if you started with banker's boxes because that's what was affordable, and then a few weeks later you saw a small filing cabinet for sale, you could pick it up and then quickly move the files over. the key is to make sure you can easier add folders wherever they may be needed without having to reshuffle what's already there. As well, I'd recommend you have something available to put behind the folders, so they'll stand nicely and are easier to find.

    3) For the bills and papers, I'm working to integrate mine into my general reference system at home. I'm currently in the middle of a move, and my home implementation, while partially complete, hasn't had a full workspace to set up so has been somewhat delayed. Once the move is complete, I'll get my general reference system set up there, and at that time, I am planning on making files for all of those, at least those that haven't been paid. Otherwise, I would have them either in my tickler system to remind me to pay them, or in a specific support folder for bills to be paid with a reminder on my calendar.

    I hope these have helped a bit, and again, good luck!

    Adam

    Originally posted by wbc
    Hi there!

    I'm just about to start my implementation of GTD after I've read the book twice.
    But as I wanted to beginn some questions came up...

    1. What is the best implementation order? Filing system first?

    2. I'm still at school so what kind of filing system (drawer, banker boxes,...) do I really need. The system has to be inexpensive due to my finacial situation.

    3. Should I put all my files such as phone company contract, bank stuff, insurance papers, warranty information, school stuff (bills etc.) in the general reference filing system?

    It would be great to hear your opinion. Maybe you even have resources about GTD for students.

    Cheers
    Wolfgang

    Comment


    • #3
      @AdamMillier81:
      Thank you for your reply. After reading your answers. It seems quite obvious and logical that the reference filing system is needed at the process phase of the implementation.
      And thanks for good luck wishes... I think I can need them (after reading many posts about the difficulties with the implementation of GTD)

      Wolfgang

      Comment


      • #4
        IMHO (there's more than one right answer!)

        1. Collect, then Process. Your general reference filing system will grow from the Process step.

        2. Whatever works. At one point in my life I had wine boxes from behind the liquor store holding my files. It should be easy to move the files from one container to another as your collection grows. Or as your desire to improve the appearance of your environment grows.

        3. Absolutely. One File System Shall Rule Them All! But keep in mind how often you're going to need to retrieve things, too. There's been a recent discussion on the Yahoo! group Getting_Things_Done about receipt filing, and just how fine a detail you really need to get down to.

        My advice is to keep your implementation as absolutely simple and low tech as you can stand to use, until you understand the system and know how you want technology to make it better for you. All the tools available have a learning curve themselves that can get in the way of really understanding GTD -- if you run into confusion, is it a problem understanding the tool, or understanding GTD? So take the tool out of the equation at first, and use the simplest thing you can. Paper is good, or simple text files if you can't stand your handwriting, like me.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Financial Filing

          Just a note-I do not add financial records (bills, receipts, taxes, etc.) to the A-Z filing system. I keep them in their own area. They need to be accessed for taxes at the end of the year. I can easily pull them out for the accountant and then I can easily archive them afterwards. I keep reference for reference materials (in other words, stuff that I want to keep for informational purposes).

          Hope that helps.

          Comment


          • #6
            @Dennis Sherman:

            Interesting point regarding how to start with lo-fi tools. That's pretty much the way I started, and while I've considered adding more tech as I go along, part of me still likes my paper system, and frankly, I wonder if the additional investment in a PDA/etc. would pay off as the system is (largely) already working well.

            Comment


            • #7
              @Darla Brown:
              Thank you for your advice about financial records. It is a good point that I have to access them for doing the taxes. Well I will see whether I can find a way to file financial records in the a-z file or if I will have an own financial filing system.

              @All:
              I am very curious to here form many more about their filing systems. Maybe you have more tips. Because as I understood it, D. Allen points out that most people get the most value out of their filing systems as they implement GTD. Is that also your experience? Has your life changed after you reorganized your filing system?

              Wolfgang

              Comment


              • #8
                I have noticed definite use of my filing system. Its something I had never really done in a paper system before, most of my reference material had been in electronic format, but I must say, its been very useful to just have a quick-access, easy to organize filing system. I don't know if its the biggest change with GTD, but it has been significant.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Filing is a blessing

                  hi Wolfgang,

                  I have definitely benefitted from my newly organised filing system. It still has a way to go, but on at least two occassions I have really been glad its there!

                  First when I needed my car documents to tax it. Normally I used to panic and not know where I might have put them, frustration, shouting and even tears flowed before I eventually laid hands on all parts (from different places). This time around I was able to go straight to all the bits I needed in a matter of minutes.

                  Second when my husband needed his birth certificate for something recently I was able to nip into the office, grab it from the "Certificates" file and hand it to him in a blink of an eye. He was amazed. Now if only I could find the wedding certificate it could be filed along with everything else.

                  I have saved many hours of frustration and searching by setting up the files and no longer procrastinate when I have a piece of paper that needs filing. The cardboard files are to the left of where I sit, the labeller is on the desk and the filing drawers are on my right. Everything new gets filed straight away. I;m still working through the backlog though.

                  Hope this helps.

                  Regards,

                  Carol

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by carol
                    ... I was able to go straight to all the bits I needed in a matter of minutes. ...

                    I have saved many hours of frustration and searching by setting up the files and no longer procrastinate when I have a piece of paper that needs filing. ...
                    Your post really motivates to do the filing right. I think it is very important to know that the filing is really an esential part of doing GTD. Before all your posts I thought that I have my little filing system in play and I won't change it. But it consists of several binders which contain various information such as bank stuff, school stuff, insurance stuff in no real order. And the big thing is - the binders are not labled in any way So I have to know where the stuff is!

                    But now another question:
                    Do I file all my bank documents under B as bank or with subcategories such as bank-statements of account or under F as financial-bank or under the name of the bank?
                    Do I file recipes form the doctor under H as health-recipes oder under D as doctor-recipes?

                    To sum up the real question behind these two is:
                    Do you file your stuff under a very general topic such as financial oder health with subcategories or do you file your stuff as specific as you can, like doctor, bank or even the name of the bank or doctor?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wbc
                      Your post really motivates to do the filing right. I think it is very important to know that the filing is really an esential part of doing GTD. Before all your posts I thought that I have my little filing system in play and I won't change it. But it consists of several binders which contain various information such as bank stuff, school stuff, insurance stuff in no real order. And the big thing is - the binders are not labled in any way So I have to know where the stuff is!
                      Single files in a filing cabinet is definitely the way to go IME. I've struggled with finding papers for years but I can now go straight to what I need, it's incredibly liberating. It's been one of the best bits of GTD so far.

                      Originally posted by wbc
                      But now another question:
                      Do I file all my bank documents under B as bank or with subcategories such as bank-statements of account or under F as financial-bank or under the name of the bank?
                      Do I file recipes form the doctor under H as health-recipes oder under D as doctor-recipes?

                      To sum up the real question behind these two is:
                      Do you file your stuff under a very general topic such as financial oder health with subcategories or do you file your stuff as specific as you can, like doctor, bank or even the name of the bank or doctor?
                      It really depends on the size of category and what's going to be easiest for you to remember. I have a bank section because I have two different bank accounts, so there were four or five different files and I wanted to keep them together. But my alphabetical files only take up two drawers, so there's not all that much to look through (I could probably fit them into one drawer but I was allowing for expansion).

                      Kirsty

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What will you think of when you look for it again?

                        I have a separate section for financial stuff, in which everything is filed by the name of the account: Visa, First Bank, Second Bank, etc. Having them all together makes it easier to purge the files annually, find what I need for taxes, etc.

                        Recipes go on the cookbook shelf, not in the main reference system, because that makes them convenient to the kitchen. I have a binder with sheet protectors for loose pages.

                        Almost all of my general reference materials are online these days. Most of my filing space is taken up by project-related stuff, which is filed by project and (for completed projects) by date.

                        Katherine

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Files

                          I, too, keep the financial files separate from the other files. They have their own alphabetical section in the front, and then the other files start. As far as bank accounts, I have one folder per account, no matter which bank.

                          I agree that recipes should go in the kitchen, but if I was going to file them, I would put them under "Recipes -- doctor" instead of the other way around.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Binders are great!

                            Hi Wolfgang,
                            I am also a student. I have 4 main binders (3'), organized by my goal in life right now, "to obtain my degree, using my own money, while caring for my self".
                            1. self care (incl. hobbies and spiritual)
                            2. physical care
                            3. financial care
                            4. career care (incl. work and school)
                            Each binder has 2 main sections: active and someday/maybe.

                            My goal gives me parameters for decisions about active vs. someday/maybe projects and tasks. If something does not contribute to my immediate 1)self care 2)physical care 3) financial care or 4) career care (including my degree), then I put it on someday/maybe.

                            All my computer files are also set up according to these categories/subcategories. Everything is very easy to find, because the system is so intuitive to my goal.

                            The secret to getting binders is, if you have a freecycle group in your area, to ask for large size binders. I received over 15 free large binders from people who had been saving them in their basements (people who work for government or big business seem to get a lot of binders to take home). I used the other binders for my course materials.
                            I purchased a large used bookshelf for 100$ which holds the binders so they are always accessible. I also purchased a labeller (30$, and buy label tapes 20$/term). All my binders and their subsections are labelled and they look very professional which is good to remind me I will benefit from all this hard work financially one day.

                            Best wishes for your goals
                            Laurie

                            Comment

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