My Single Most Effective Office Organization Tool

A recent article on the "Dumb Little Man" blog (don't laugh; it's a real thing) began thus:
We’ve all heard the saying, “a clear space, a clear mind”.

But what does it actually mean?

Well, it’s quite simple – the more cluttered the space around you is, the more you have to think (or worry) about.

This can apply to your personal or your working life.
Well, they had me at "a clear space, a clear mind." Because I'm a firm believer in that simple principle. I have severe troubles concentrating and producing amid clutter and distraction.

The article, by Louise Clarke, went on to list four helpful tips for office organization. But it didn't mention my single most effective office organization tool: a "bring-up" file.

What is that, you say?

I'm glad you asked. A "bring-up" file--also called a "tickler file" by some time management folks--is a simple but helpful collection of forty-three file folders.

Twelve are labeled with the months of the year, and the other thirty-one are numbered, 1-31, for the maximum days in a month.

When a bill comes in the mail, I open it, note the due date, and then put it in the "bring-up" for seven days before it's due. That way I never miss a payment.

If there is something--like a birthday, perhaps, or an estimated tax payment--I want to remember three months from now, I may record in my desktop calendar...but I will also put a note, card, or payment voucher in that month's folder.

If I have a restaurant coupon to use on my next "date night" with my wife, I'll simply put the coupon in that date's "bring-up" folder.

Articles to be read, maps and reservation forms for upcoming trips, reminders of goals I want to meet, seasonal reminders (like when to order mulch or change furnace filters), etc. all go in the "bring-up."

And, perhaps most importantly, at the end of a workday, I simply take all the papers and forms from my desk and put them in the next workday's folder.

I've often recommended this system to friends--even helped some set it up, though it's so very simple, just forty-three labeled folders! And I've mentioned it often at speaking engagements, to writers and pastors. And I'm frequently surprised at how many people have never heard of or used such a simple tool. But I have, for nearly forty years now, and even as I've added technological helps like alerts and "reminders" on my digital calendar and iPhone, I continue to rely heavily on my "bring-up" system to maintain "a clear space" and "a clear mind."

What about you? What's your most effective office organization tool?

2 comments:

  1. THE PHILOSOPHY OF CONTEMPORARY EVANGELISM BY STEVE FINNELL

    THE MODERN EVANGELIST'S PHILOSOPHY IS ROOTED IN THE SAYING "PEOPLE DON'T CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE."

    The apostle Peter preach the first gospel sermon on the Day of Pentecost 33A.D.. Did the three thousand converts shut up their ears until they knew how much Peter cared?

    Peter preached Jesus as a miracle worker. (Acts 2:22)
    Peter preached Jesus crucified and put to death. (Acts 2:23)
    Peter preached Jesus resurrected from the grave. (Acts 2:24)
    Peter preached Jesus ascended into heaven. (Acts 2:33-34)

    Peter told the three thousand that they had crucified Jesus. (Acts 2:36) Is that when the three thousand understood how much Peter cared and started to believe his preaching?

    What was their reaction? (Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles. "Men and brethren, what shall we Do?)(NKJV) Were they cut to the heart because they realized how much Peter cared or were they cut to the heart because the apostle Peter was preaching the gospel truth?

    What was Peter's answer? (Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus for there mission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.) (NKJV)

    Peter preached the complete gospel on the Day of Pentecost. FAITH John 3:16 CONFESSION Romans 10:9 REPENTANCE AND WATER BAPTISM Acts 2:38.

    Simply showing how much you care is not TANMOUNT TO PREACHING THE GOSPEL TRUTH.

    Men who preach men are saved if they sincerely believe a lie are showing they care, but they are not preaching a gospel that saves.

    Men who preach you can have your sins forgiven without being baptized in water, care, however, that preaching cannot save anyone.

    Men who preach salvation apart from believing in Jesus, care, but that preaching cannot save anyone.



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