There is no one sure-fire method for getting and staying organized. Each person needs to find his or her own system that works within his or her comfort levels, job responsibilities and work environment.
With that in mind, do you ever feel like you have lists for your lists? Does your to-do list keep you up at night? Do you find yourself missing deadlines, forgetting birthdays or feeling especially frustrated by paperwork?
I suggest you try the 43-File Folder, or Tickler File System. This system is very cost effective. You can get everything you need for under $15. It is also purposely low-tech and gives you an efficient means to organize clutter. Additionally, it has a very small learning curve and can be used simultaneously by many different people.
To get started:
- Purchase 43 file folders.
- Folders 1-31 should be labeled with just a number. For example, 1 on the first folder, 2 on the second folder, up to 31. These folders represent the different days of the month.
- The last 12 remaining folders should be labeled with a month’s name, January-December.
- Organize the folders by putting the current month first, followed by the current date through 31. For example, say today is May 27. My files would say May 27-31, followed by June 1-26, followed by July-December.
- Set the folders in any easy-to-see and access location.
- Each day, review the items in that day’s folder. File any other paperwork or tasks in the day in which it needs action.
The idea is to file away your tasks on the day you need to see them again in order to complete it before it is due. The month files act as a holding place for any tasks that are more than 31 days out. For example, tickets would go in the day you need to use them. A bill would be filed in the day you plan to pay it. A birthday card would be filed in the day you need to mail it. If you need to follow up with a customer, place a note in the date that you plan to follow up. If you have repeating tasks, you may write them on a note card that can be moved from file to file.
Arranging your tasks in this manner allows you to focus only on the things that need your attention that day versus sorting through a variety of stacks or to-do lists every day. It actually makes out of sight, out of mind a good thing. You can get items out of sight but then be reminded to act on the relevant day.
The hardest part about trying the 43-File Folder or Tickler File System is getting started. It may take some practice to get used to checking the folder each day. This system also works in conjunction with other electronic systems you may use. There is nothing wrong with setting up an Outlook reminder to check your file, at least initially.
You may keep two different systems, one for work items and one for personal items or you may find that you can use one system for both work and personal.
With so many different electronic resources and apps available, you may ask, why use a paper system? Again, this system is intended to complement any electronic system you are already using. It also gives you a sure-fire place to file paper documents. It is simple and cost effective for people that are not tech-savvy or those that deal with a lot of paperwork.
I hope this helps you be a little more organized.