Organizing In Advance of the Info-Glut

I use two key strategies/tactics to keep above the pile of data/info that reaches me…or that I reach out to acquire…

1- Handling emails as they come in
2- Filing paper and electronic content

1- Email
I never leave anything in my Inbox. Never. If I looked in there and saw something I did something with it immediately.

Here are my choices for escaping Email Jail after a quick-scan or a full-read:

  • Delete it…
  • Mark it as SPAM and smile…
  • File it into “A01-Read later” or A02-Read Even Later (But Keep) or A03-Read Much Later (If Ever)…or…
  • Or file it into one of the Outlook files that I created under the Inbox…files that starts with E01-Misc. for an EPPIC file – versus those that start with P01- Misc. for my personal files’ Misc. catchall category. More on this scheme below…

My rule is touch this as few times as you can! It’s a game I play with the deluge. It’s a game I almost always win!

And a BIG SECRET is to use a similar scheme across all of the files…for emails, paper, and computer files. So the following is used for my email files, my files inside My Documents/EPPIC, and my paper files in my office and in my basement’s archive files.

2- Computer and Paper Files
My personal paper and computer files for my consulting practice have been organized this way since the early 1980s and are still organized this way today. When my firm was larger than just me and my external associates…up to 32 staffers, I forced my entire organization to use a similar scheme.

After it was in place my staff didn’t know how we had survived without it prior.

After reviewing the entire scheme…ask yourself…can you adopt/adapt this…somewhat arbitrary scheme…for your purposes?

Here’s mine…

E00- Projects – for the actual files of ongoing projects and archived projects. Sub-categories for “folders” that I have used within this category include:

  • Company ABT– 04- Sales CAD
  • Company ABT– 05- Marketing CAD
  • Company ABT– 06- Sales MCD– The Sales Model Overview
  • Company EXT- 01- New Product Development CAD
  • Company BNV– 15- Six Sigma CAD
  • Closed Project Files (By Year)

E01- Misc. – for the truly “I can’t figure it out and I just need to dump this somewhere out of my main view” for consideration later. This is the Kitchen Junk Drawer that almost all households find necessary to create or live with. Sub-categories for “folders” that I have used within this category include:

  • Keep Forever
  • Review later and DISPOSE of – or FILE

Often there is just a long list of items here that I occasionally go to to administer. Often this is junk to be trashed.

E02- Environmental Assets – this is for all of the non-people parts of my business. Content that isn’t more appropriate for the other files of my systems and that are about…things not people…end up here. Sub-categories that I have used within this category include:

  • Data/Information
  • Materials/Supplies
  • Tools/Equipment
  • Computer Hardware-Software-Etc.
  • Facilities/Grounds
  • Budgets/Financials
  • Culture/Consequences

E03- Human Assets – is for all things human for my consulting operations. In the past this would hold all of the records on my staff. And the Qualifications/Certifications records we kept on each staff member. And their training & development plans and actuals. And their performance reviews. Everything that had to do with the “care and feeding” of people in the Enterprise. Sub-categories that I have used within this category include:

  • Staff Records
  • Sub-Contractors Records
  • Personnel Policies and Handbook
  • Job Position Performance Models
  • Recruiting/Selection System
  • 360 Feedback System

E04- Marketing – is for all my articles, presentations, columns, brochures, newsletters, web ideas, etc., etc. that are involved with marketing…including Marketing Planning AND Promotions. Sub-categories, which themselves may have sub-sub-categories…or worse… that I have used within this category include:

  • Articles/Presentations
  • Blogs
  • Book Marketing
  • Brochures
  • BPTrends Columns
  • Competitors/Collaborators
  • Mailing Lists
  • Marketing Mailings
  • Newsletters
  • Photos
  • Podcasts
  • Professional Affinity Groups
  • EPPIC Stationary

E05- Sales – is for any marketing type effort directed at a known customer. If they Requested a Proposal via an RFP – it would be in here under their name. Sub-categories that I have used within this category include:

  • Company A – Year
  • Company B – Year

E06- Legal – is for all legal documents, including Responses to RFPs, contracts. POs, and anything that it might take a lawyer to deal with in the future goes in here. Sub-categories that I have used within this category include:

  • Insurance Records
  • Non Disclosure Agreements Signed
  • EPPIC Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Copyright Holdings
  • Legal Correspondence
  • EPPIC Start-Up Paperwork
  • Products Purchased Warranties

E07- Financial – is all about the “money” and is mostly intended to help me help my accountant help me. Sub-sub-categories, under EPPIC 2006, that I have used within this category include:

  • QuickBooks Backups
  • Bank Statements
  • Invoices Sent
  • Invoices Paid
  • Sales Receipts for Stuff I Buy

E08- New Product Development – is for all of my products/services “in the process of being created.” Sub-categories that I have used within this category include:

  • Book in Development: ABC
  • Book in Development: XYZ
  • Consulting Service Offering: 1-2-3
  • Consulting Service Offering: 4-5-6
  • PACTool ASP

E09- Current P/S Offerings – would contain folders that include all of the plan/report/presentation templates, and tools, etc. needed to conduct one of these projects. I copy the file over to rename it and that becomes my project file, ready to go…to update and complete the templates for this particular project as it moves through its standard phases as modified for this particular situation.

Sub-categories that I have used within this category include:

  • TDSV– Assessment Service Offerings
  • EPPI– Stage 1 Projects
  • PACT- Performance and Enabler Analysis Offerings
  • PACT- CAD Project Service Offerings
  • PACT- MCD Project Service Offerings
    PACT- IAD Project Service Offerings
  • PACT Workshop/Coaching Session Offerings for – PPM- PACT Project Managers
  • PACT Workshop/Coaching Session Offerings for – PPA– PACT Performance Analyst
  • PACT Workshop/Coaching Session Offerings for – PCD– PACT CAD Designers
  • PACT Workshop/Coaching Session Offerings for – PMD– PACT MCD/IAD Designers
  • PACT Workshop/Coaching Session Offerings for – PLD– PACT Lead Developer
  • PACT Stakeholder Briefing Session Offerings
  • PACT Qualification/Certification Session Offerings for – PPM- PACT Project Managers
  • PACT Qualification/Certification Session Offerings for – PPA– PACT Performance Analyst
  • PACT Qualification/Certification Session Offerings for – PCD– PACT CAD Designers
  • PACT Qualification/Certification Session Offerings for – PMD– PACT MCD/IAD Designers
  • PACT Qualification/Certification Session Offerings for – PLD– PACT Lead Developer

E10- Business Management – is for all of my current and past plans for the business. And other’s content for reading and/or reference later. Sub-categories that I have used within this category include:

  • Strategic Business Plan
  • Operational Plans
  • Data on Current Collaborators
  • Data on Future Collaborators

Summary
The Info-Glut is coming. For many of us it’s been here for a while now. But if it crept up slowly on you, as a frog sitting in a pan of water about to be boiled with the slowly rising temperature, then do a quick temperature check regarding the current onslaught of the data-glut that you are experiencing…and get yourself ready to deal with it in a more logical manner than relying on Boolean Logical Searches…which could identify many more items than you’d care to open and check out.

Avoid AS MUCH OF THAT AS POSSIBLE by being as organized as you can now!

For an interesting “slide show” somewhat related to the topic…see…link to: SHIFTS HAPPEN:

http://www.scottmcleod.org/didyouknow.wmv

One comment on “Organizing In Advance of the Info-Glut

  1. Pingback: Digitizing My Paper Archives for My Digital Archives | EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

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