The Manila Folder Reminder System.

I take every life change as sort of an opportunity to start fresh, and thankfully, I was given that opportunity again recently. If you were to ask those closest to me if I was an organized person, they would literally laugh in your face. If you asked me if I was an organized person, I probably would do the same.

Obviously, my organization skills needed work and thus would be the target of my developing obsessive-compulsiveness. I mean, now that I sat in my house chair all day doing work, there would be no excuses for me not being able to get things done on time. So, I started to use iCal more, took more notes, things of that nature. However, out of all the organizational changes I made to improve my organization, the addition of a simple manila (or blue in my case) folder was my biggest success.

The Secret of Organizational Success

Oh, I can start hearing the “wtf?!” being thrown around. Well, let me explain.

When it came to starting a business, I had a lot of paperwork to mail, bills to pay and things to purchase. Problem was, I couldn’t remember them all. Sure, I could bring a notebook around or maybe create a task in iCal, but I would either forget the notebook or feel that a task was too minor to put into iCal. One day, while I was reorganizing files into my shiny new filing cabinet, I decided to take all the things I needed to do the next day (such as mail to be sent), put them into an extra folder and set them aside (placing it under my keys and wallet to make sure I wouldn’t forget it). The next day, I went out with the folder and was able to knock off every single item that was in the folder plus some things I had added that day. For once, I felt accomplished that I had finished everything I wanted to do because I usually have the tendency to linger on things I might have forgotten.

I loved the technique so much that I decided to try it again today. Before I left for today’s errands, I placed the following things in the folder.

  • All the mail that had to be sent out,
  • A Pep Boys receipt for a return I had to make,
  • A menu to remind myself to get dinner for Jenni,
  • A note with a reminder to get a USB cable from Fry’s,
  • … and a note to get my car washed.

Needless to say, I was able to complete everything, except one and that was because Pep Boys closed earlier than I thought. I left the receipt in the folder so I can take care of it tomorrow.

Now, I’m not saying that this is the best way to do this, but I’m more amazed that I finally found a way to stay organized. I even thought of having a few manila folders, one for each day of the week. For example, if I needed to get a bill out by Saturday, I’d put it in the respective folder. Baby steps Bryan, baby steps. Nevertheless, whenever I need to get an errand done, I make sure there’s something in that folder reminding me of what it is (whether it’s a note or not). Thankfully, the folder is big enough for me to see and remember if my absent-mindness happens to take over.

If anything, I suggest that you try it if you frequently go out and do errands, maybe it’ll serve as a better way of doing something you’re already good at (unlike me).