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Out of Sight Out of Mind – Not!

In the 40+ years I’ve been encouraging people to create filing systems, the most often repeated objection to putting papers in a file folder in a file cabinet is “out of sight out of mind.” I understand.

Frequently, people who try to create a filing system ask the question, “Where should I FILE this?” That is the wrong question. The more helpful question is, “How can I FIND this?” There are so many ways you can file the same information: car, auto, vehicle. The problem is remembering what you called it when you want it again, and the chances that someone else looking for that information would think of the same answer is highly unlikely!

The solution is simple: a file index. A file index is to managing your physical documents what a chart of accounts is to managing your money.

One of the most rewarding outcomes of my career is our concept of creating a “Finding SYSTEM” instead of a “filing system.” (Note: the acronym SYSTEM stands for Saving You Space Time Energy Money which is a most desirable outcome!)

Our approach to filing eliminates that nagging “out of sight out of mind” fear. It’s far easier to look at a list of your files than to look through stacks of paper or boxes of paper. We create the list on your computer in a program you are already using regularly, or if you don’t have one, we offer an option we find highly user-friendly.

Our method allows you to add as many keywords as you like for the same document. In addition, you can add reminders for when you want to access the information or what you want to do with it.

I advise our clients, “If there is something that you want to be able to retrieve easily, and it will fit in a file folder, with the Finding SYSTEM, you can be sure you will find it.

Clients often tell our Certified Productive Environment SpecialistsTM (CPESTM), “Oh, that won’t work for me.” We ask them to “trust the process” and assure them that if they don’t like the result, we can easily convert it to the traditional method to the piles on their desk!

If you’d like to explore whether a Finding SYSTEM would be a happy solution for you, go to



Barbara Hemphill, Founder

Productive Environment Institute

Helping Professionals Accomplish Their Work and Enjoy Their Lives!

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