WFH Wednesdays - The "Red Folder System"


I'm going to share a productivity tip with you that works for business owners, executives, and administrative support professionals whether you work in the office or #workfromhome.  

I've talked before about how being organized and being productive go hand in hand. As an article contributor for the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) website https://www.asaporg.com/ I've written articles about this topic. 

One of the most efficient and effective systems I created for one of the CEOs I supported, is was what I call my "red folder system." I included information about this system in my article for ASAP titled Office Organization and Creating an Optimal Work Environment https://www.asaporg.com/articles/efficiency/office-organization-and-creating-an-optimal-work-environment.

I like to use color to create efficiencies. Colors help identify items because of the association we automatically have with them. Imagine a clear desk with colored file folders in a stacking file folder sorter or colored file folders in the "pending box" you may be using now from Marie Kondo's Joy At Work tidying system. When the color of a folder means something to you, you know exactly where to go to find the information you need with very little thinking. Saving your brain power for more important things and finding what you need in seconds enhances your productivity. 

Here is an excerpt from my article: 

"Organize by color-coding to group like categories of paper, calendar meetings and appointments, and tasks together. This is a visual way to organize. For example, I use blue folders for travel (blue sky), green for community events (grass roots), and yellow for employee events (cheerful). 

I created a “red folder system" to facilitate forward action for paperwork. I chose red because it signifies importance. It stands out. It commands attention. Think “stop sign.” I have a set of red folders and each one has a specific purpose and action associated with it. The label describes the action that needs to be taken by your Executive without the need for conversation. Examples are “For Signature,” “For Approval,” and “For Response.” I add a bright yellow post-it note that states “Today” that I attach to the folder when the action needs to take place that day. When my Executive has completed the contents of the folder, he places it in a designated area of his desk for “pickup”. I take it away when he steps away from his desk and process it accordingly. The bonus of this system is that it enhances our mutual efficiency."  

Pro Note: Using this system is effective for yourself, your team, or an executive if you are in a support or leadership team role. I used to say that my executive didn't need to talk to me all day and work would still get done! The folders on his desk facilitated the action. It is especially helpful if there is little time or desire for conversation. This system provides a sense of clarity and calm that allows us and those we collaborate with and support to manage information and workflow with ease. 

We can apply this system to our virtual work world by creating a digital folder system, giving each folder a color name. Keep the current folders you are working with on your desktop for quick and easy access, especially that red folder! If you are sharing files, copy those folders to the cloud for others to access. A folder named RED can be used to store critical and time-sensitive documents that command immediate and timely attention. Place those documents in the folder and alert others with a quick text or email that you've added something important to the RED folder and include the link to it. Here's to the color red and #peacefromproductivity! #officeassistanceplus

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