This week my blog posts and podcast have been inspired by David Allen, the author of "Getting Things Done". His book was introduced to me a couple of years ago, but it wasn't until recently that I really took the time to study the process. If you have issues with productivity, organizing paperwork, organizing your workflow, or any kind of project around the house or at work, then I highly recommend you read this book. In the podcast this week, Pete and I talked about the process and the important key elements in making it work. I have started to implement some of the ideas into my own system and really have seen a difference in the way I look at my work.
For this post, I would like to share with you TWO FILES TO AVOID!
The Misc. File and The To File file....
The Misc. File: This is something I have talked about before in blog posts and with my clients. I am a big believer that the Misc. File is a dumping ground file! As David Allen would say it's a place to put items where you do not want to make decisions. This is true. You don't want to think about what to do with the paper, so it goes into the Misc. File, that's the easy solution. If you have a lot of misc. files you may also have a lot of misc. paper piles around the office.
The best thing you can do is a make a decision right away when a piece of paper comes your way. If it really does not belong in an existing category you already have, then I suggest you make a new file just for this kind of paper, or better yet, really think about if the paper is worth saving!
On average, we only retrieve 20% of what we file, the other 80% is left in filing cabinets until we decide to purge them!
The To File file: I admit, I have one of these! I never really thought twice about it. I figure if I had items that needed to file, I would put them into this file and then later when I had time or the folder got to full, which was a visual reminder, I would do my filing. I started to think twice about my strategy after I started studying the GTD Method... (Getting Things Done!) David Allen actually recommends not to have a To File file. My take on this recommendation is because you should have a filing system set up which is easy enough to file any paper within a minute or so. There shouldn't be a need to wait. If you are done with the paper, file it. It seems so simple, right?
The key is to have an easy system, one which you understand and one with easy access. If you have to get out of your chair to file, the likelihood of you doing it drops a significant amount. Which could be why you are having the paper pile up in the first place!
I admit, I still have my To File file, it is empty, but I still held on to it. I plan to practice the theory and see if it eliminates the filing paper pile. My guess is if I am committed to making this change, then the file really will become obsolete and will be taken out of my action files.
If your system is easy then you really are better off to just take care of the paper now and not later!
There are many great concepts I could share with you about this book, and you will see more posts this week on the ones that really stood out to me.
So for today, think about your Misc. and To File Files, and ask yourself, are they really necessary? Or are they adding more work and stress to your day?
If so, give it try and eliminate them all together!
Until Next Time...