I’m starting something new, adding short posts between some of the long ones with quick tips I use to stay on-track and in-the-black when it comes to my writing business.
My tip for today is 3-Ring Notebooks
I use and reuse 3-ring notebooks all the time, and have every size to choose from. I don’t use them for writing, however–I quit doing that when I graduated from high school. Nope, now they are my mobile means for filing and organizing.
Yes, I have a five-drawer filing cabinet, but that’s for the long-term, not-going-to-get-into-it regularly kind of stuff I need to keep for my business. For current projects and information I use all the time, I use 3-ring notebooks for these reasons:
- It’s easy to keep everything together.and to tab sections for easier reference. The bigger the project, the more parts there usually are to it. For every project I use the first tabbed section for my Contact sheet–a list of all the people I will contact or have contacted to complete this project, and when any new names and numbers are given to me during the project it’s easy to find the Contact sheet and document the information.
- Notebooks are pros at standing on the floor near my feet, to be ready to grab as I’m writing on my computer. Unlike file folders, most of my project notebooks stand up easily on their own, need no bookshelf–though one can be easily used if you have the space. If I’m using a particularly skinny binder all I have to do is prop it against the desk leg.
- I have all the project material ready to grab and go if I need to work with it on the run.
- I can “color code” my projects easily, always using the same color notebook for whatever is the current “hot” project(s), and find all the coordinating notebooks in the same color if I need to divide a large project into more than one notebook. This is critical since I am almost always working on at least three contracted projects at the same time. Having a one color for each project makes life easier since I only have to look for that color when I’m sweeping through looking for material. I even try to use the same color Post-It Notes, so I don’t have to even think to know which project a note on my wall relates to. I use black notebooks for material that stays in the same notebook all year, such as the ones for Invoices and Checks Received.
- I can use printable labels to mark both the front and the spine of the notebook for easier visibility, then when the project is completed and the notebook is emptied for the next project I just peel the old labels and add new ones.
- Because the material all stays organized as the project progresses, when it does come time to unload the notebook(s) and file the material, that’s a snap. I use the tabbed dividers in the notebook to determine how many file folders I need for archival purposes, and label the folders accordingly. For projects that don’t need to be filed into folders, just kept for a short time for archival need, I simply recycle my nifty ‘saved’ Amazon boxes by loading the pages into their new cardboard home, tape up the top, and mark the contents in black marker on the outside–if I know a “destroy date” I add that on the outside, too. Since the notebook kept everything in order, the contents now remain organized in the Amazon box.
- Notebooks go on sale each year around the time school starts, so I always know I can stock up at a discount (and on my favorite Post-It products, too). After school starts, I often find notebooks on discounted tables in office supply stores, as well, so keep your eyes open.
That’s my tip of the day for office/project organization. Feel free to leave tips of your own in the comments section.