Create an Action File!
If you are a busy MOMpreneur working on improving your goals, it is imperative that you create easy routines that help you systematize actions that you have to repeat over and over again. Setting up solid systems in your business creates many benefits for you!
How can a one person business stay on top of it all? Institute an Action File System that works for you and supports your unique skills and work style.
You need to create simple systems that help you hold your place. Most MOMpreneurs are so busy and interrupted constantly, so in order to keep on top of things and stay productive – it’s important know what to do instantly with papers/items. An Action File System can help you.
Tips on How to Create Your Personalized Action File System
- An ‘Action File’ is another name for a holding area for you to store papers (and tasks) that need action consistently.
- There is no right or wrong way to create an action file.The best practice is to create an Action File around HOW you work and HOW you organize and retain information in your head. Trust yourself with naming. If your gut says to name a file something unconventional, go for it.
- Some people chose to design a system cyclically around the way they do work: daily, weekly, or monthly. (Chronological). Others associate their files and tasks categorically with a person and prefer to use client for file names (Personalizing). While others prefer to create action files for ‘tasks’ they repeat often: file, read, pay, call, comment, edit, etc. (This is the construct most often associated with Action Files – as they are named for the repeated ‘Actions’ you need to take OFTEN.)
- Action Files should be personalized for YOU and the way YOU work. Naming categories aligned with how you think and associate information most often is what will make your Action Files most successful. Different people chose different filing systems, and the key to success is to develop a simple system that best supports how and when you work. Time To File! Image courtesy of Michal Marcol/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Each part of your Action File should be clearly labeled and easy to understand intuitively. Sometimes people get caught up in the ‘right way’ to file. The fact is – the ONLY right way – is the way that will be most useful to you and the quickest way for you to recognize, file and retrieve the information in the future. If you name it something unconventional – it doesn’t matter, as long as it makes sense to you and you can find it in the future.
- Avoid using ‘muddy’ non-descript file names such as: ‘Miscellaneous…’ Nothing is more SURE to be lost than when you plop it into a ‘Miscellaneous’ file. What’s in there? How will you know after three weeks. If you’re tempted to plop things in a miscellaneous file – push yourself to the next layer of decision-making. Ask – Why am I keeping this? What must I do next with this? and What is missing that is triggering me to keep this paper. Answering those questions will help you codify and decide more clearly whether the paper is worth filing at all.
- It’s a really good idea to ‘verb’ize your file naming system, and copy that system in your electronic files as well.
- Think of creating action files for anything that requires a ‘next action’ to be completed.
- You may want to create a file for things that you are waiting on and label it something like: ‘Pending’, or ‘In Process’, or ‘Wating’, or ‘This Week’. Again, it is important to label the file in accordance with your ‘already-always’ thinking about these items to make them useful and usable.
- An Action File should be located NEAR where you do most of your work. It should be easy to put your hands on, utilize and know what to do with what is inside.
- If your business is mobile, your action filing system should be as well. Consider investing in an organizing tote like these beautiful carry-able filing options from my friend Laurie Noel Meek at Office Candy.com.
- An Action File can consist of anything such as:
- hanging folders
- a sorting system
- a desk drawer
- a vertical tray
- a stadium file
- a cubby system
- or whatever seems to work for you in your space.
Colorful Binders. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Action Files help you stay productive because they gather like tasks together, help you hold your place with tasks, create ease with ‘how’ you work and allow you to chunk like tasks together. Action Files help you stay on track and help you organize all the papers that come into your office regularly.
For other great organizing tips for MOMpreneurs – Check out my DIY Home Organizing Course. It’s FREE and you can get started with nearly 6 months of tips to get you organized and sane!
Share Your Action File Tips!
What is your favorite way to create an action file? What works for you? Please comment in the box below to share your tips! OR – Take a picture and share it with us on my Sane Spaces Facebook page! See if you can stump me! I’ll be happy to give you free coaching over there!
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