There are many tell tale signs of an Inspired Office: clear desktops, files that are happily used, and beautiful storage. An Inspired Office never has a “To File” folder. What a sad waste of a good manila file folder. It had aspirations and was meant for better things. There are a few reasons why these exist in the offices of otherwise reasonable professionals:
- No time to file
- No interest whatsoever in filing
- A flawed file system
That was my being tactful. The “To File” folder is, do I dare say it, a lazy excuse not to file. Strangely, the “To File” folder is usually more than 50% junk. Peek inside of yours now. You’ll see. At least re-label this folder. Perhaps a better name for it is “Things I need to get off my desk because I can’t look at the crap anymore.”
Another funny thing about these folders is that they tend to multiply. To start one is to find several, perhaps one for every year, with your Professional Organizer during an excavation one day.
Warning: It’s not a system and it never works as it was intended. The “To File” folder is always indicative of a broken filing system. If you have a place for absolutely every paper that flows into your office, then it should be just as easy to file (or toss), as it is to pile on top of the cabinet. I compromise with clients every day, but keeping this folder is one deal I never strike.
Are you harboring “To File” piles? If so, peek inside and get honest with yourself about its contents, and how long it will actually take to file and create files. Hint: it never takes as long as you think.