Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A very simple filing system for email and paper

In Cedric Hohnstadt's blog http://cedrichohnstadt.wordpress.com/2008/03/26/keeping-on-top-of-the-clutter/ he suggests a very simple way of filing his emails and paper. He calls it a “three folder system”.

He says, "In my email program I’ve created three folders:
02-This Week

Since my folders are alphabetized, the numbers in front of the folder names ensure that these three folders stay at the top of the list. Every time I check my email, I quickly scan my messages and begin sorting them into the folders. If an email requires a prompt response, I move the message into the “Today!” folder and I make sure that folder is empty by the end of the day. If the response can wait a day or two, I move it into the “This Week” folder. I try to make sure that folder is empty by the end of the day on Friday. All other emails go into the “Whenever” folder, and I get to them when I can. "

He goes on to state the advantages: "First, it ensures that my email inbox is always empty. I can’t tell you how freeing that is. Second, it helps ensure that nothing gets buried or falls through the cracks. I feel like I’m in control of my email and not the other way around."

He also recommends checking your email 3-5 times a day when you have time to look at several, rather than being interrupted by a reminder that you have a new email. This gives you ample time to work without being side-tracked.

He also uses this this three folder system (but has added a couple more) to handle his paper. He has five paper trays on his desk labeled “Today”, “This Week”, “Whenever”, "Finances", and "To File." "I make sure the “Today” tray is empty at the end of the day, and I try to make sure the “This Week” tray is empty at the end of the day on Friday," Cedric says.

He uses the "Finances" tray to collect anything that needs to be entered into his accounting software, and the "To File" tray for items that need to be filed in a filing cabinet. He uses times when he needs a break from his creative work as an illustrator to catch up on his filing.

Isn't this a do-able filing system? I think I'll try it out!

P. S. When I copied Cedric's blog onto my blog so I could quote him, I accidentally hit the wrong button and published his entire blog! Sorry for the confusion it may have created for you!