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Friday Fix: The Get Stuff Done Binder

September 19, 2018

Ask Bindertek:

I’m always working until the last minute on Fridays, and wind up stacking everything into piles before rushing out the door. How can I better close out the work week and avoid leaving a big mess behind?

Despite our best intentions, we too struggle with time seemingly evaporating. One minute it’s Monday morning and we’re sitting down to a fresh to-do list, the next minute it’s Friday at 4:50pm and we’re rushing to finish one last email or finalize one more document before heading out the door. When you’re drowning in work, it can be hard to set aside time for cleaning, paper organization, and other tasks that appear less important than work itself. Force yourself to change your habits and tackle weekly organization for increased productivity, a better mood, and more confidence from your boss.

The most tempting solution is to stash paperwork in file cabinets, desk organizers, and drawers. All of these tools have a place in your arsenal, but avoid using them for miscellaneous piles whenever possible! Cabinets, organizers, and drawers should be used for well-labeled and cataloged files, whether archived or in-progress, to ensure quick identification as needed. By dumping your Friday afternoon panic piles into them, you’re just moving the mess out of sight and not actually solving the problem at hand.

We’re binder people, after all, and creating a Get Stuff Done Binder (GSD) helps you manage your paperwork, to-do list, and ongoing projects in one neat, portable package. Simple to start and easy to maintain, the GSD Binder is a stripped down organization system that you can put to work before you leave the office today. The concept is simple; set up your own GSD Binder to keep track of ongoing tasks and deadlines.

Start by sorting your paperwork into categories, whether by priority, deadline, project, or personalized categories. Use Write-On or Custom Index Tabs to separate your binder into these categories. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Now, Later, Future, Pending
  2. Due ASAP, Due Tomorrow, Due Next Week, Due Next Month
  3. New Client Intake, Awaiting Proposal, Invoice Due
  4. Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Year End Review

Whatever labeling system you choose, you’ll want something flexible that you can freely move paperwork through as a project’s status changes. You’ll be putting your paperwork into sheet protectors, so there’s no need to hole punch documents and they’ll be easy to move from section to section within the GSD Binder.

On Monday morning, you’ll return to the office and get caught up in emails, phone calls, and meetings. Your GSD Binder will be a great visual reminder of the tasks that need your immediate attention and refresh your memory on what their status was before the weekend. To stay organized, treat the GSD binder as a “to-do” binder, not a “done” binder. Your GSD Binder can work in tandem with a longer-term filing solution to keep paperwork from piling up at any stage in your work flow.

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