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  • Tip for retrieving and returning paper files

    When I first adopted the GTD lifestyle, I purchased some quality filing cabinets that use the slider in the back to keep the files upright. After I got a substantial amount of files I sometimes found it frustrating to return a file to its original location. I didn't like thumbing through the tabs to find the right spot, and sometimes I've even returned files to the wrong location and lost track of them.

    Then one day I had an inspiration that solved this little problem and wanted to share it with you. I think this tip might save you considerable time if you retrieve and return files regularly to your filing cabinets.

    In each file drawer, I now keep a small binder clip attached to the letter tab at the very front of the drawer. When I pull a file that I intend to return right away, I remove the binder clip and fasten it to the file directly behind it. When I finish with the file, I know exactly where it belongs without thumbing through the file names, and I never misplace it in the drawer.

    I've attached a photo to illustrate. I hope it makes your filing systems more user-friendly.

    Have a great day!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Very cool tip. I usually raise the folder behind the one I'm pulling out by half an inch, but sometimes it settles. The binder clip is a more reliable marker.

    Comment


    • #3
      Another Idea

      Another idea would be to use a "File Out" card, which you could make out of either a left cut or center cut file folder. (Or just take one of your right cut folders and turn it around.)

      File Out cards are normally used in common files so the person taking the file can leave a note for everyone that they have the file. The card lets everyone know that the file is out - not lost or misfiled - and who they should see if they really need to have it. Since it is your personal file, you probably won't want to bother filling anything out on the File Out card.

      You would just make up a couple for each file drawer, and slip them into the location from which you just removed a file. The cards are usually some bright color so they stand out. You could create a red label on the tab that says FILE OUT. The color plus the different tab position should make it easy to find.

      Slipping File Out cards between your folders might also be a bit easier on them than using binder clips.

      Comment


      • #4
        even simpler: The "File bookmark" hack

        Simply lift up the file behind the one you pulled!

        Five Secret Filing Hacks From The Masters
        http://matthewcornell.org/blog/2007/...m-masters.html

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        • #5
          A ruler works great for this

          I keep one at the front of the drawer. I slide it in upright when I take a file out. But the drawer can still close. The ruler is stiff so I just pull on it and it creates the space to put the file back.

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