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My files, my life

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  • My files, my life

    Hello all -

    I'm an infrequent visitor here but just had a realization that I felt compelled to share, even if it only touches one life.

    While I can't say I've "fully implemented" GTD, even minimal efforts have paid off more than I can quantify. I truly think that DA's advice about buying a labeling device has in itself changed my world.

    Why? First, as a self-diagnosed mild OCD-type, there is the delight of opening my lateral file drawers and seeing a calm sea of orderly, labeled files. I am an attorney and thus refer to active case files (and general reference but have much less of those). The time and stress saved through religious file maintainence is incalculabe. Another positive is the perhaps subconscious effect this manifestation of orderliness may have on opposing counsel; during meetings or court I have the accordian file in front of me and can readily access, e.g., each letter I've sent requesting discovery. I could call this the aesthetics of information management.

    Second, and more meaningful, the act of deciding how a document should be filed (e.g. create a new file or classify within an existing) gives meaning to (1) evaluating the importance of the document and (2) determining the next action.

    So the purpose of this caffeine-inspired submission posting is to inspire anyone who has not done so (and especially those prone to OCD/perfectionistic tendencies) to immediately purchase a labeler. (No, I do not work for any office-product entities.) I have a Brother P-Touch that is way fancier than my simple needs, but I love it anyway - like a piano student practicing scales on a Steinway.

    Best wishes to all!

  • #2
    Re: My files, My life

    I agree, we all need a few paper files with labels. Every time I start a new paper folder, I first label it and slip the document in. Then I think of which category it should be filed under? This is the tricky part. If I forget the category, I end up looking through the entire drawer through every folder for the document. In the digital electronics world, General Knowledge Base www.baltsoft.com allows you to create a new topic (think new folder), place your document, web page, or electronic file in it, and then attach it to any number of categories within the database (think hanging file folders in the file drawer). Then if you even forgot in which category or topic you placed it, you can begin a search with keywords and even allow it to search within the document itself for something you remember. This will become the wave of the future for document management.
    Last edited by tesseraltyme; 04-22-2007, 04:19 AM.

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    • #3
      I had my doubts about the labeler recommendation in the book, but wanting to follow the advice faithfully, I bought one. In fact I bought one for home and one for my office at work, along with extra tape and the necessary transformers. This all added up to a pile of money, the vast majority of my GTD implementation costs (other costs were basically just the book and some folders).

      I will readily admit that the labeled files are neat, easy to access, and very satisfying, but overall I would say that the advantages of labeling FOR ME do not outweigh the time it takes to create, trim, peel and attach the labels. I have reverted to hand-lettered file tabs and I find this speeds my filing activities and lowers my resistance to creating new files. Perhaps file retrieval suffers a bit, but not enough to make a difference for me.

      Overall, I think it was a mistake for me to have invested in the labelers and the time I spent labeling files. I would dump this if I had it to do over again.

      With that said, I agree that files used among colleagues (or in court, etc.) should look professional and a labeler is a good way to achieve that. My files are mostly for personal use.

      My labeler has also come in handy in dozens of ways other than for file folders, so I am in fact glad I have one anyway. It is great for labeling file drawers, boxes in storage, kids toys, mysterious light switches, pill bottles, remote controls, etc. All these things are hard to write on by hand, so the adhesive label is necessary.

      By the way, contrary to what is advised in the book, I have found that running one on batteries works well and the batteries last a long time. The device is more portable that way and therefore more useful.

      So again, FOR ME, the advice to use a labeler for folder tabs is the one piece of advice in the book that falls flat. Maybe that is due to my peculiar personality or whatever. I am glad it works for you and DA and the countless other people who are doing it. I just wanted to weigh in that it might not necessarily be for everyone, so if there are other people out there who suspect the labeler is just slowing them down, I hope they will at least consider the expedient of hand-lettering as an alternative.
      Last edited by Barry; 04-24-2007, 01:47 PM.

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      • #4
        Another "don't get the labeler" out of the closet.

        Originally posted by Barry View Post
        I will readily admit that the labeled files are neat, easy to access, and very satisfying, but overall I would say that the advantages of labeling FOR ME do not outweigh the time it takes to create, trim, peel and attach the labels. I have reverted to hand-lettered file tabs and I find this speeds my filing activities and lowers my resistance to creating new files. Perhaps file retrieval suffers a bit, but not enough to make a difference for me.
        I thought I was the only one who didn't "get" the benefit of the labeler for the tabs. I have one at work and one at home. I use them to create the tab labels. So what.

        For all the benefit I got from GTD, I took away only one thing from the filing section - Label the files, not the hanger. I kept the hanging folders. I'm still using the labeler to make the tab labels, but I don't think it matters. I got rid of the duplicate labels in the plastic holders clipped to the hanging folder. What's important to me now is whether the tabs stick up high enough to see over the hangers. Some hangers are deeper than others.

        I even have an old filing cabinet that has the movable metal plate in the back from pre-hanging folder days. I hate filing in it. I find a conflict between using the metal plate to keep the files held firmly enough that they don't slide down under the other folders and the instruction to keep the drawer less that 3/4s full. Even if it's only 1/4 full, if you have to adjust the slider to add two good sized folders, that's a barrier to filing. It needs to be a one-handed operation for me. I have a HON legal sized cabinet with hanging folders. I have no problems filing in it.
        Last edited by WebR0ver; 04-25-2007, 10:45 AM.

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        • #5
          Labeling Fool!

          Jurisprude, your name is a hoot...and it sounds like you have a great sense of humor. Why is it so many attorneys are so funny?

          When I first got my P-Touch, I was a LABELING FOOL! I labeled EVERYTHING!! I'm more sane now, but I must admit I get a little rush whenever I get to use it :-}

          Thanks for the laugh!

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          • #6
            No Label-maker for me either!

            I didn't get a labeler, mainly because I have a bunch of cool pens and really neat handwriting. In fact, my co-workers joke that my printing looks like a typewriter.

            I guess the suggestion is a good one for those without good penmanship, otherwise spend the money on other fun stuff.

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            • #7
              I label myself as an OC too. But the fact that I am an OC makes things even more complex. Its really difficult.





              ________________
              Daniel
              Chrysler Town & Country Seating & Storage 2007 by Chrysler USA

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