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  • Noguchi filing system revisted...

    I found this year-old thread on the Noguchi filing system and was wondering if anyone has successfully implemented the system. (http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4560)

    Was this one of those blogosphere fads that peaked in the fall of 2005 and since has fallen into near oblivion? Or are there steadfast Noguchi filers out there who swear by the system? Unfortunately, the comprehensive English language description by William Lise has been removed from the web, replaced by an intemperate (though perhaps justified) rant against bloggers who copied images from the site. Mr. Lise obviously does not like Web 2.0, nor was he delighted (as many GTDers would be) to see his productivity meme proliferate across the web!

    Here's the system in a nutshell. Files are arranged chronologically, based on last use. New files go in front. And if you pull a file out to use it, it returns to the front of the file. Thus, less used stuff sifts to the back, while newer and more frequently referenced stuff stays in front. The "orthodox" method employs envelopes on a shelf, but I don't see why this system couldn't be implemented with manilla folders in a drawer.

    Last fall (see link above), several GTDers here gave a thumbs down to the system, citing the difficulty of locating material and the need to "remember" when something was last used. But I'm interested in it for a few reasons:

    1) ease of filing: this system (provided one uses handwriting) would dramatically cut down on the amount of time it takes to think of a file name, print a label, and file. Just stuff something in an envelope, slap the date and a reasonable title on it, and stick in front. And if you take a file out, deciding where it goes again is a no brainer. I find that I'm reluctant to put "hot" reference files back in my drawer, because I know I'm going to have to flip through my files soon to pull them out. So instead they pile up around my desk. This system would eliminate that clutter.

    2) necessity of review and purging: this system would demand regular reviews and purges. Every time one flipped through the files to find something, one would be reminded of what's actually in the drawer or on the shelf.

    3) Though I like neatly labeled permanent files, I'm tired of using a labeler on trivial stuff that I'll only need for a little while. It seems like a huge waste of time and effort. This system would be more ad hoc and provisional; in fact, it would help sort out what is of immediate use and what needs to be archived for the long term.

    Thus, I'm thinking of using this as an intermediate filing system for everything new or current. Old, but necessary stuff, would be archived in an A-Z system with neater, more "permanent" labels.

    Any comments or thoughts?

  • #2
    refrigerator

    This is roughly how my refrigerator is organized, my tool box, the bathroom cabinet, the linen closet, and my sock drawer. Believe me, there are retrieval problems for the less often used items unless they are packaged in a way that makes them stand out or they only fit in a certain place. The smaller your universe of filed items, the better this system will work. The more distinct each item is, the better, too. For a paper information system, unless the whole batch is limited in number, I have my doubts.

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    • #3
      I use a homebrewed kind of Paper Tiger system. All reference papers go into one big file system in chronological order. Each new item is labeled with a pre-numbered adhesive label and dated, then filed into a filedrawer. I then type a brief description of the article into a master list in an Excel file, along with the date and file number in their own columns.

      To find a file, I search for a key word in the master file, look up the file number to retrieve the file. Putting the file back is easy since all files are simply numbered.

      My system is 2 years old now and still works great.

      Tom

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      • #4
        Originally posted by madalu
        3) Though I like neatly labeled permanent files, I'm tired of using a labeler on trivial stuff that I'll only need for a little while. It seems like a huge waste of time and effort. [...] Old, but necessary stuff, would be archived in an A-Z system with neater, more "permanent" labels.

        Any comments or thoughts?
        I found broader categories for "trivial stuff that I'll only need for a little while". For example my phone bills and things like that go into a folder called "homeworld". Another such one is "countryclub" for all things related to gardening and sports. Sometimes when these folders are empty for a while, I'll keep them like the pub owner gives credit to his regular visitor who is broke for a while.

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