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My file overfloweth

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  • My file overfloweth

    I work in Human Resources but I dont think this issue is restricted to my craft.

    I find I get a lot of staff dropping in 'just for a quick chat'. Usually it is just to pass on a piece of information so that someone knows about it. I note all these conversations, either on the spot or later, if the person is a bit nervous when I pull out the pen and paper.

    Some of the info is important enough to do something about straight away, so it gets its own folder and becomes a project.

    With the other 'stuff' I just put it into my general reference file and it sits there until I get another piece of information and decide if there is enough to go to the project stage. Its not really someday / maybe kind information I'm dealing with.

    My Problem is that this second file has grown to the point of being almost useless because of the amount of time it takes me to sort through the notes when I think there might be a related topic or issue.

    Does anyone have a working system they use that might help me with this challenge? Paperbased or Software is fine, I'm open to anything that works!! PS I use a Palm m500 and Lotus Notes

  • #2
    Lots of reference and "someday" material?

    Sounds like you have a lot of reference and "somedy/maybe" material. One of the best lessons from GTD for me was overcoming the antipathy towards having a single piece of paper in a file folder

    I have a separate file drawer dedicated to these non-project materials and each subject has its own folder. So, if I see a gathering of volume in a folder in this drawer, I examine the contents with two objectives:

    1. determine if there's something actionable brewing

    2. see if the folder needs to be split up

    I almost never let a folder get "stuffed" because, as you've noted, that becomes an information black hole.



    • #3
      Thanks Mochant

      Splitting the file is probably the smart thing to do, I guess I'm having trouble getting my head around what subjects to break it into that will actually make retrieval easy (well easier than it is now !)

      I think I'll just grab my trusty P-Touch and some folders and start disecting the 'amorphous blob' and see what happens


      • #4

        I coldn't tell for sure from your post, but it sounds like alot of what you has is documentation of conversations and you would like to be able to put your hands on the notes you took as needed. Am I close?

        If so, let me know and I can give you a system that worked well for me when I was using paper and the one I use now with Palm/Outlook.


        • #5
          How often do you review and process your "general reference" file?