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  • one alphabetical set of files?

    Hello,

    I'm sorry if this is a basic question, I've just re-read GTD and am looking to implement it fully. In the book David talks about having one alphabetical filing system. But I wondered if people normally had one reference system a to z, and then had the project files separate, and also the tickler and someday/maybe files separate?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Simon

  • #2
    Yes - separate

    Yes, I keep my project folders separate from the reference system. I don't put anything in my reference system that is actionable. The tickler system (as described in the book) is a unique set of files that should be separate as well. I think you would mess up the functionality if you tried to alphabetize these folders. My someday/maybes are on a list. If they are kept in a folder, I suspect that you are using folders for your other lists too? If so, I would keep them all together so they are readily accessable. You may want a second opinion about the someday/maybe.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by si_gale View Post
      In the book David talks about having one alphabetical filing system. But I wondered if people normally had one reference system a to z, and then had the project files separate, and also the tickler and someday/maybe files separate?
      I have one A-Z filing system for most stuff. But, in a separate drawer I have my tickler file and the paper files for my current active projects. All someday maybe project files and all reference and all archive files are in my standard system. Projects that are on hold for one reason or another are also in my reference system.

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      • #4
        So what is the ideal set up of files? A tickler file. A reference file - do you have one for each project?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by macgrl View Post
          So what is the ideal set up of files? A tickler file. A reference file - do you have one for each project?
          The tickler file is a set of folders numbered 1-31 and a set of 12 folders labeled for the months. Mine is actually a Globe Weiss Everyday Sorter in a style that isn't made any more. I put paper stuff in there that I want to see or deal with at a future time, federal sheep report due at the end of the year is in December, slaughter report due every month on the 15th was in the folder on the 7th but is now in September as I finished turning in the report, notice of a free concert in the park on Thursday that I may or may not go to is filed in the section with the number 19 because that is the day I want to decide if I will go and so on.

          Reference and project files for me are the same, physical file folders with the name of the project on them or other way I will search for it. If it's an active project I have them in front of my tickler file which is located in the file cabinet drawer under my desk. If it's inactive or a someday maybe thing they are in the file cabinets behind my desk filed alphabetically. Not all projects have file folders and not all folders relate to a single project. For example I have a project of Spinning Shetland Roving for a Cardigan sweater. No project file for it as I know what to do. I also have a single folder with Knitting Patterns that contains all the knitting patterns for my Someday/Maybe knitting projects. When I choose to start one I go to this folder to get the pattern if there is one. In addition I have a few context specific folders at the very front of my active files, right now they are

          Price List Info - all the prices for all of our products so I can grab them easily
          Action Support - single sheets and other paper materials related to a next action that are not enough to warrant their own file
          Waiting For - mostly invoices I am waiting to be paid for
          @local town - stuff I need to take with me when we go into town
          @further away town - stuff I need to take with me when we do our monthly shopping at the bigger city

          So my drawer has those folders in front, then the active folders for current active projects, right now those include

          Grazing Maps
          Solar Stuff
          Registrations Pending for the Sheep Association where I am the secretary
          Wool Skirting

          Then my tickler file.

          I also keep a few financial info files nearby in the same drawer Bank statements, expenses and sales for the farm and other business and folders for bills to pay, bank statements and expenses for us personally. I just find it easier to know those are all in one pace rather than search for them. It makes it easy to file the data when it comes in.

          I have 2 sets of files that are alphabetical but separate in separate drawers. One is the files for the Sheep Association (I am Secretary/Treasurer) and one is a set for the Ditch Company (I am Treasurer). Since the files go with the position I want them in an easily collected group so I can give them off to the next person who has the job.

          Somewhere in the forums I know I pasted a picture of my system some time ago, not sure how to search for it. I'll go do that and see if I can find it and post a link to the thread where it is.

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          • #6
            Yes separate

            This a picture of my current filing systems. It has changed as my needs have changed as any good filing systems should. But as of right now, it's working very well.

            Projects - one list (digital)
            Areas of responsibility - one list (digital)
            Support materials for projects - one filing system (digital)
            Support materials for areas of responsibility - one filing system (digital)
            General reference A-Z - one system (physical)
            General reference A-Z - one system (digital)
            Recipies - one system by type of food then sub categories, then alphabetical (physical)
            Receipts, invoices, bills, etc. - one system, by month, then by date (physical & digital)
            Lesson Archives - organized by semester, then class, then date.
            Books to read - (list with just the titles) organized according to the same themes as my areas of resposibilty.

            Look through that and tell me what you think. Any questions?

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            • #7
              There's no ideal setup of files.

              Originally posted by macgrl View Post
              So what is the ideal set up of files? A tickler file. A reference file - do you have one for each project?
              There's no ideal setup of files. The main GTD guideline is to put everything in order - the alphabetical order seems to be the most suitable but you can divide your files into categories if you wish (financial, home, work etc.)

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              • #8
                Excellent, thank you for your reply

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by macgrl View Post
                  So what is the ideal set up of files? A tickler file. A reference file - do you have one for each project?
                  As an alternative view, for paper I have one filing cabinet with everything in there A-Z. I use my next action lists to remind me of what needs doing, and if there is paper to go with it I just pull it out of the draw when I need it.

                  I think this is mainly because I dont have much paper to deal with, the overwhelming majority of my stuff is digital.

                  That said I cant get my head round why its simpler to take a file out of filing place A put in filing place B then later take it out of filing place B, use it, then put it back in A. Seems like a step too much. However it may be that its a useful way of focussing the mind, or part of the ritual of preparation. I also imagine that if you were using a file on and off several times a day it would make sense, but my job doesnt seem to be like that.

                  The only thing that isn't included in this is our charitys financial information, which needs to be kept separate and takes up nearly a shelf of its own in ring binders.

                  I dont use a tickler file, I put the reminders in my calendar and file the item, whether real or digital. Its not as elegant or as quick as a tickler, which is very much fire-and-forget, but again I dont get enough stuff to gain a critical mass with the tickler file, more often than not its empty.

                  I dont always create a project folder, just if I have paper. however i use onenote and each project in that is a kind of digital folder where you can put files and images as well as generate task lists. If I were completely paper based I probably would do.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all those responses. It has helped make more sense for me.

                    I'm going to do one filing draw current project files a to z, a tickler 43 folders, someday/maybe, waiting on, and another draw reference a to z. Oh and I'll also have another "weekly review" paper folder with project list, areas of responsibility, goals for the next 1 to 5 years.

                    Then I will also have digital files in the same formats on my mac and Evernote account.

                    I'm also trying the Next Actions on paper for a while. I have been trying various "to do" software and find it's too much out of sight out of mind. Also I haven't been doing a proper weekly review so if i can get that done I think I'll be on the right track.

                    I feel like I'm on the cusp of a life changing experience through GTD!

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                    • #11
                      It has helped me a lot , thanks

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                      • #12
                        If i have an article for a topic how would i file that alphabetically? For example an article for my phd. Would that go under p for phd or under the letter of the article title?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by si_gale View Post
                          I'm going to do one filing draw current project files a to z, a tickler 43 folders, someday/maybe, waiting on, and another draw reference a to z. Oh and I'll also have another "weekly review" paper folder with project list, areas of responsibility, goals for the next 1 to 5 years.
                          Not sure how you will use the separate someday/maybe folder. I put paper or digital files for someday/maybe projects in my reference system.

                          I tend to have only the few (as of this am only 8 ) active project folders out so a full A-Z file not necessary.
                          Last edited by Oogiem; 08-19-2010, 07:27 AM. Reason: fix in-line smilie that was supposed to be number 8

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by macgrl View Post
                            For example an article for my phd. Would that go under p for phd or under the letter of the article title?
                            I file articles by subject not necessarily by title.

                            So I have an article titled Dragon Scales Shawl. It's a knitting pattern for a shawl that I made and I want to make another one. The shawl is listed as a someday/maybe project under my Personal Development area of focus and the Knitting subfolder. In the notes for the shawl project I note that the pattern is in the file "Knitting Patterns" I use Omnifocus as my list manager and also holds all the someday maybe items. I also have a note in Evernote that has my notes on the first 2 shawls that I want to incorporate in the 3rd one.

                            The paper pattern is filed in a folder called "Knitting Patterns" filed in reference under K and the other notes are in Evernote in a note "Dragon Shawls" in notebook "Fiber Stuff"

                            I've attached a bit of a screen shot showing this set-up.

                            Attachment

                            When I make the project active I'll have all my notes right there or links to them.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post

                              I've attached a bit of a screen shot showing this set-up.

                              When I make the project active I'll have all my notes right there or links to them.

                              Interesting . . . will have to play around with this sometime, after we finish our 2-month house painting project. Believe me, if you embark on a room-by-room painting project, for the entire house, your GTD system will be shot to rubbles as the house is one big INBOX!

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