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Office admin/filing help

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  • Office admin/filing help

    Hi all,

    I'm a student who has been using GTD for at least a year now with great success managing my university workload. I've recently taken a part time job as an administration and communications officer for a national peak non-profit, non-government association which ties in nicely with my university studies.

    So far I have already collected and cleared out my new workplace thoroughly and feel comfortable with that. I have processed everything collected, at least to the point that it's either in a location I trust or has been filed as a waiting for or current project. I have also mindswept and processed that info into next actions, projects etc., and have developed daily and weekly checklists and a tickler file.

    I've never worked a proper office/admin job before and I'm really excited to have an opportunity to test my GTD skills! However, there doesn't seem to be a consistent logical admin system currently in place and so I am reworking a lot of things and I have a few questions that have come up due to the new and unfamiliar work landscape I am in. I'm sure there will be more as I go along!

    1) I have a large filing/reference section separate to my workspace, as well as a two draw filing cabinet at my desk. My predecesor's system flows from the desk cabinet and continues into the other section. It feels more logical to me to have current project data and recently received reference materials filed in the desk cabinet which can be easily accessed and then purged on say a monthly basis, with reference materials reviewed/binned/re-filed in the separate main system as appropriate. Would this work? How do you deal with current vs. longer-term records and reference material?

    2) What do you do with paperwork relevant to action lists, eg. documents you are waiting for responses on, that will be required to provide information when making calls, or that form part of an agenda? I know when they are date related I will file them in my tickler, but when they only fall on a context list and I am not sure when I will use them again I'm not 100% what to do with them.

    3) Does anyone know of any resources on, or have tips regarding best practice for administration in general, physical filing systems, digital file systems? As a newbie to admin. I am curious to know what the current best practice systems are, even if I don't necessarily use them... as more of a personal curiosity I guess.

    Lastly, any tips for making this process of re-organising and systematizing my new workplace easier would be greatly appreciated, Eg. things I might not have considered yet or admin systems or ideas that I might find useful.

    Thanks in advance!
    Shelly

  • #2
    Opinion

    Originally posted by Shiny View Post
    Hi all,


    1) I have a large filing/reference section separate to my workspace, as well as a two draw filing cabinet at my desk. My predecesor's system flows from the desk cabinet and continues into the other section. It feels more logical to me to have current project data and recently received reference materials filed in the desk cabinet which can be easily accessed and then purged on say a monthly basis, with reference materials reviewed/binned/re-filed in the separate main system as appropriate. Would this work? How do you deal with current vs. longer-term records and reference material?
    2) What do you do with paperwork relevant to action lists, eg. documents you are waiting for responses on, that will be required to provide information when making calls, or that form part of an agenda? I know when they are date related I will file them in my tickler, but when they only fall on a context list and I am not sure when I will use them again I'm not 100% what to do with them.
    3) Does anyone know of any resources on, or have tips regarding best practice for administration in general, physical filing systems, digital file systems? As a newbie to admin. I am curious to know what the current best practice systems are, even if I don't necessarily use them... as more of a personal curiosity I guess.

    Shelly
    1. This is exactly what I do. Project files need to be more accessible than reference.

    2. I have a "waiting for" file that's in my bottom desk file drawer, just in front of the Project files.

    3. You might want to just try searching on Google and see what you come up with.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Shiny View Post
      1)... Would this work? How do you deal with current vs. longer-term records and reference material?

      2) What do you do with paperwork relevant to action lists, eg. documents you are waiting for responses on, that will be required to provide information when making calls, or that form part of an agenda?
      The bottom line with #1 is what works for YOU. The basic idea I follow is that stuff I access every day is closest, less often = farther away.

      I file paperwork in project folders, named by project, sorted A-Z. Item delegated or @agenda are tracked in my electronic system, with a note about which project (if it's not obvious).

      - Don

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Shiny View Post
        2) What do you do with paperwork relevant to action lists, eg. documents you are waiting for responses on, that will be required to provide information when making calls, or that form part of an agenda? I know when they are date related I will file them in my tickler, but when they only fall on a context list and I am not sure when I will use them again I'm not 100% what to do with them.
        In addition to project support files for each current project, I have an "action support" file which holds bits and pieces for actions that aren't really a project. I have "waiting for" related stuff in there too, again for non-project follow-up. For example, I'm waiting to hear from Samsonite when my bag has been repaired and the receipt for that is in the action support file.

        I also have a folder for small administrative tasks that aren't time sensitive, like business cards that I want to enter into my contacts. I collect a bunch of those types of things and do them all at once as I find that more efficient. Or I'll do some while I'm waiting for the potatoes to be done or in other "little windows of time".

        If you have something like a weekly meeting, you can have an agenda file rather than an agenda list and plop things in there that you want to bring for reminders etc. to the meeting.

        I keep all these current types of files next to my tickler.

        3) Does anyone know of any resources on, or have tips regarding best practice for administration in general, physical filing systems, digital file systems? As a newbie to admin. I am curious to know what the current best practice systems are, even if I don't necessarily use them... as more of a personal curiosity I guess.
        The only other kind of filing system that I've read about, apart from David's A-Z general reference, is from a book called File... Don't Pile! by Pat Dorff. It's a light and easy read and I was considering it for my personal filing, but decided it was overkill. In an office however, where many people may be accessing the files, it may be a better match. Or when you collecting lots of information on related topics like Pat Dorff.

        Best wishes for your getting organised! I find in my dealings with admin staff, that many people aren't tracking their work very well and I'll have to nag and remind people.

        C

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