Using the 43 folder system effectively

By | Sep 1, 2008

Chrissy over at OfficeArrow has a great video describing the 43 Folder reminder system.  What?  You don’t know what the 43 Folder system is?  Well, go read Chrissy’s article now….I’ll wait).

Back?  It’s a great system, isn’t it? This system is very effective at keeping up with all of those little pieces of paper that have time frames attached to them: the notes the boss needs for a certain meeting, tasks that need to be performed on a specific date, that sort of thing.  Chrissy’s post did a great job of covering the basics of the system, so I thought I would add some tips to use the system more effectively.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: mrmanc

  1. Remember to check the files! I know, I know…this should be self-evident, but if you’re like me, you tend to get engrossed in your work and forget these little day to day tasks, important though they may be.  I always set a recurring reminder in Outlook to remind me of daily, weekly and monthly recurring tasks.
  2. Keep an eye on the files for several days ahead. If the boss has a big meeting coming up, she might want a couple of days to review the files on it.  And, if her meeting is first thing the next morning, be sure to give her the files the night before in case she goes directly to the meeting first.
  3. Put a note on the items detailing what the meeting is for, who it is with, and the date of the meeting.  It’s easy two months down the line to forget why you put something in the file.  Be sure to make a note to remind yourself.
  4. Don’t put big files in your reminder folders. Big files make it harder to see what’s in your folder, and makes it easy to accidentally put another reminder into the wrong file (and yes, I’ve done that).  Instead, put a note to pull the appropriate folder on that date.

The 43 Folder system can be an indispensable tool for the good administrative assistant, but, like any tool, it is only as good as the person who is using it.  Think about the tools you use and the most effective ways of using them.  Tomorrow, I’ll talk about using Outlook to supplement or even replace the 43 Folder system.

So, how many of you use the 43 Folder system?  What makes it effective for you, and what do/would you do to make it more effective?

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2 Comments so far
  1. sandy (1 comments) April 4, 2015 8:28 pm

    The hyperlink to 43 folder reminder system does not work.

  2. Jodith (189 comments) May 12, 2015 8:50 am

    Thanks, I’ll fix that.

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