Imagine it is 7:05am. You’ve over slept. Your train leaves in 20 mins and you are rushing around the house searching for that document your boss wants to review this morning, not to mention the First Class train ticket you bought last week. Where? o’where are they? There is nothing worse than wasting time searching for those important meeting papers, train tickets or invitation.
I think we have all done it once, for some of us it is a regular occurrence. However, there really is no need to be like this, rushing about and stressing. All you need is a place to put them. No it isn’t by the side of your computer, which will eventually slip down behind. It isn’t in your ‘In’ tray which will eventually get covered up with various papers. Some of you may place it in your diary on the appropriate day, which is a great way of thinking, but why carry them around with you all the time.
Step forward the Bring Forward File
The Bring Forward File is a way to organise your papers, tickets, agenda, invites etc. All paperwork relevant to a specific day is placed in a file ready to bring out on that day. There are two systems you can use, either 1-31 or January-December.
1-31 is a file made up of 31 sections and each section represents a day of the month. If you have a meeting on the 20th of the month, any relevant papers are marked and placed in the relevant section. The papers will be there ready for you on the day that you need them. If you are working for someone and they like you to prepare their papers for the next day then you would place them in the section before. At the end of the day on the 19th these papers will be taken out and placed with your boss’ diary sheet to be either placed on their desk ready for the morning or given to them as they leave the office that evening.
However, an issue I see with this system is when you have papers for the same day but different months, so it would be a good idea to have individual clear pockets in the section if this occurs for the different months.
I used to work for a Consultant who’s diary would be booked up 6 months in advance and I would have to hold various documents months in advance so I opted for the Jan-Dec system. It is system that I still stick to as there is no confusion over which month the papers are for. It has the same principle as the 1-31 but instead each section is for a month. The date that the documents are needed is placed in the top corner and filed with the nearest date in front.
Every day you must look in the Bring Forward File for it to be effective. As you begin to use one you will see how it can work in tune with your diary too. You can forward plan putting notes in your diary and then the paperwork is placed in the Bring Forward File to back things up.
You’ll be amazed at what else you can use it for – following up leads, insurance renewals, birthdays, car MOT.
Go on give it a try.