Totally NOT organized!
One thing I took away from the conference is that I am still being held back by not being WELL ORGANIZED. I very rarely use paper, or print anything off, so I don’t really have a need for a big paper filing system. But I understand the things that I read so much better when I DO have a print out of them right there in front of me and I can take notes right on the paper as well.
For example, when I reading about someone’s family, I have to write it all out in tree format in order to understand it or take it all in or in order to compare it to my own family.
|A Ginger drawing|
But then I find myself tossing those pieces of papers aside into a huge pile of “to be filed” or if I do decide to be a good girl and file them when I’m done with them right away, I run into the dilemma of having to decide how to file them. I swear I spend more time making decisions than I do actually doing genealogy. Once I decide where or how to file them, I either already have an existing folder that I can just drop them in to, or I have to create a new one. Creating a new one entails finding a folder, putting a label on it (goes back to deciding how to describe it), and then finding space and the correct location in the filing cabinet in which to file it.
I’ve been reusing my file folders for 20 years now, so some of them have labels on the tabs already with either printed text or handwritten text on them. Some of them have post it notes covering up the previous labels. Creating a label on the computer is an additional time sucker. I have to remember how I did it the last time, 2 years ago. And of course I have to improve the process (again) while I’m at it. More time sucking.
|DYMO label maker|
In her talk Reporting the Facts: Record as You Go, Pamela Boyer Sayre mentioned using a handheld label maker to label her file folders. That sounded like a great idea to me except last I knew, label makers only came with those plastic rolls of labels that were thick and embossed and stuck to everything…forever. But I went to the store and I checked them out and I bought one and alas! They do come with paper labels that you can use for your file folders, or whatever else you have that you know won’t get wet or last forever. So I’ve found at least one way to make my paper filing situation a little bit easier.
Having the proper supplies will ease the anxiety and time sucking-ness. I put my new handy-dandy label maker to use last night in fact when I needed to file away the 15 pages of emails that I had printed from a lady in GA I had been corresponding with before I left for the NGS conference. Then I noticed the two folders beside it that needed labels…
|Pendaflex hanging file folder|
Last month I bought more hanging file folders as well. So once I got these two other folders labeled, I put all three of them into a new hanging file folder and then I added a labeled tab to it so I could identify it easily.
What tools do YOU use when tackling your file cabinet?
This is probably going to be a multi-part discussion series about how I deal with my paper files, digital files, and my all-around working habits that are either hindering or contributing to my successful research abilities.