Many people will tell you that having a file labeled “Miscellaneous” (or a drawer, envelope, shelf…) for all those odds and ends that don’t really fit in neatly to another file is simply NOT the right thing to do. My answer to this is to have a “Work” file. This is the file I keep with me and has all bits of information and reminders that simply was not ready to be filed or I still needed to act on. I keep in the back of it, a few reminders of more long term needs as well as a one page school calendar, and a working “To Do” list.
This “Work” file allows me to have with me just those parts of other files that I may need to work on in the coming week or so and not carry the complete file with me.
For example, I have a file for the First Forum I coordinate each year at New Bern High School. This file has the previous year’s flyers, agenda, contacts, papers others handed out at the events, and my own notes. There is no need for me to carry this complete file with me. Instead, I have the upcoming objectives on my “To Do” list – for now. As the date comes closer, I may well need to carry the complete file with me. Until then, I will rely on my “To Do” list only.
Another example is my Craven County DSS file. There is no need to carry the previous month’s agenda and reports with me all the time. Should I need to be working on something related to DSS, I simply add it to my “To Do” list.
This process allows me to have in my computer bag at all times, those things that are really my go-to items. I keep this bag with me every day and if I end up in town and having time to work for a little bit, I have the necessary reminders handy in my “To Do” list and other working files for current projects. This prevents me from carrying a dozen full files with me all the time; I have what I need and no more.
So, I do have a “Miscellaneous” file and yet I have tweaked it to work for me. Don’t be afraid to do what works for you and disregard the “professionals” (including me!) in order to find what works for you. If you need a Miscellaneous file, then by all means make one and be sure you use it as you need it to work for you. After all, it is your work, your goals, your needs. These are not your boss’s or mine.
Take control of that clutter and get your ducks in a row!