Posts tagged 43 folders
I have a large desk, probably close to two square yards. It can hold the equivalent of 27 separate piles of paper. Sometimes, out of fear that I’ll forget about something if it goes into a pile, I’ll make a new pile for it, using the document itself (say, a discipline referral) as a reminder of the task (e.g. talking to the student and calling the parent).
But each reminder is also a distraction, because I can only do one thing at a time. Piles are scary to the extent that they can hide things you need to act on, but they’re helpful in that they hide everything except what’s on top. A large desk with only one pile (ideally in a basket) looks neat and is less visually stressful.
Out of sight is out of mind. But is this a good thing? Yes, if you can keep track of everything that’s out of sight reasonably well.
The key to making this work, of course, is knowing what’s in your piles and dealing with it in a timely manner. If the pile is three days old and you don’t know what’s in it, it’s likely that you’ve already missed some deadlines or kept someone waiting too long.
At the end of every day (or the next morning), go through the pile and decide whether to file each item, keep it in the pile for action, or toss it. It will take less time than you think, and if any of the actions are quick (under two minutes), you can do them on the spot.
What about those items that will take longer? Write them on your to-do list or calendar, and make time for them at the right time. If that’s not today, put the document in your tickler file so it’s out of sight until you need it.
Your desk will be cleaner, your mind will be clearer, and you’ll be able to concentrate on one thing at a time.