Heather- Trenton, NJ
There are 5 categories that one must consider when creating a system: To Act, To File
Examples of “Homes” For Categories:
A piece of paper might change its category during the process of working on it. For example, a bill is “To Act” when it arrives, but after acting on it-paying it-, it becomes either “To File” or “To Toss”. It might even stay as “To Act” if you need to make a call to follow up on your payment. Always ask yourself what your next step is with each paper. Then you will know where you should place it.
A good filing system consists of broad main categories divided into more specific sub categories. Clear tabs with legible labels should be used for exterior folders-hanging folders. Interior folders- manila folders- should be marked with both the sub category and the main category. Assigning a different color and drawer for each type of paper will work best for you; class work, continuing education and administrative schoolwork.
The papers you use everyday should be placed in homes closer to you and the paper that you only refer time to time should be placed away from you. This rule applies to all types of organizing. The more often something is used, the closer it’s placed to you. The less often it is used, the further away it goes.
You can use two sets of mailboxes in your classroom for collecting written work, and distributing it for the students to take home. Use cardboard shoe holders with compartments. Label each compartment with the students' numbers and names. Put the boxes in different areas of the room to prevent mix-ups.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it is when you are setting it up. But once the system is set up, it saves you time everyday, and you have the control of your paper.
I teach courses on “Paper Management” at Bucks County Community College. You can check the continuing education department of your local college and your township to find out if they offer workshops. Stephanie Winston’s “The Organized Executive” might be a good resource while setting up your system. You can also get help from a professional organizer. Check NAPO-National Association of Professional Organizers- website (www. napo.net) to find an organizer near you.
Figen Genco, BA.
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