Is your project worth the paper it’s printed on? Wait, can you find the paper it’s printed on? Paper trails are for paper pushers, watch this video for strategies to keep your project papers nice and tidy.
(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at http://bit.ly/tcdprojects.)
Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today I want to talk about five different ways that you can manage projects better.
So we get this question a lot. There are two different kinds of paper – there’s reference paper that you don’t need to take any action on, that you just need to file away for future reference. And then there’s action paper that requires you to do something with it. And if it’s a quick action like a bill, that’s very straightforward. But if you have projects going on, sometimes lots of information can collect about this project, and it’s hard to manage that and find that information when you need it. So, this can be a big challenge for a lot of people.
There are many ways to do this. One of my favorites is for relatively small kind of normal projects, use file folders and a desktop sorter that’s graduated so that you can read all of the names of the folders and then just keep that on your desktop. And those are handy for you, those are your most active files that are going on, and you can collect things and work from there. Now, if you notice, I use these plastic folders. I really like these. They’re closed on both sides so things don’t fall out very easily, but you can still access stuff and, of course, you can see through them. And I get the kind that have an extended edge so that I can put a label on that, and the papers don’t cover it up. Of course, you can also use any kind of folders that you like. You can have leopard spotted folders if you want to, but whatever works for you.
The other way that you can manage projects, especially large things like remodeling or building, things where you’re gathering lots of different types of information, you can use an accordion file like this one I’m showing here. There is even one that is a cascading accordion file so that you can hang it up on the wall and all the projects, all the folders, sort down and you can see them better. So think about that. If you’re building something, you can have one pocket for your kitchen ideas, another pocket for all your light fixture ideas, and so on.
Another example of how to use folders again would be an Elfa Cart. This is from The Container Store. This is a cart that rolls underneath your desk. You can roll it in and out and it has hanging folders in the top. So you can move this cart around, take it to another workspace very easily, there’s lots of ways you can use this. And, of course, the hanging folders offer you infinite different ways to use color and things like that to customize your project needs.
Another thing that people really love that they may not know that exists is called a Project Case. These are able to be put on a shelf like a book, you can label the side of it like this, they snap open, they hold lots and lots of papers, and even if you have physical objects that you want to keep with the project, like carpet samples, or whatever you’re working on, you can have that all together, put that on a shelf, or however you want to carry these around. They’re very portable and they protect all of your papers and materials really well.
And then lastly, another way to manage a project is just electronically. I like to manage things in Evernote. I simply create a whole new notebook for the project, and within that notebook I have different notes. And of course it’s all searchable, you can take a lot of pictures in there, you can put sound files in there, there’s all kinds of ways to make Evernote work for whatever project you’re working on.
If you have other ideas, please contribute those in the Comments. We’d love to talk about that with you. And come check us out on-line if you need advice. We help people every day. We’ve helped people from 18 different countries around the world since 2006. We’d love to help you too. You can check us out at clutterdiet.com/learnmore.
See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
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