As part of my implementation of Getting Things Done I found getting the right stuff for filing wasn't as easy as it should be. This post is designed to help save you some of the time I wasted trying to follow David Allen's advice.
This post is meant for people who have read or been coached in Getting Things Done and are serious about its implementation.
1, Desk The simplest set up is to have a desktop sitting on two 2 drawer Bisley cabinets. You can make one, see here. Or buy one. I got my Manali desktop from Habitat. David Allen recommends a door on top of filing cabinets so I suppose this is a little step up from that!
2, Reference Filing Cabinets David Allen recommends using ones with compressor plates rather than hanging files. Less fiddly and far quicker to file and retrieve. What's a compressor plate you may ask? Basically it's a heavy divider that supports free standing folders and can be moved backwards ot forwards accordingly. I have only found one filing cabinet that can do this - Bisley. They have slots in the base of the drawers that the compressor plates slot into. Not many desks enable the 2 drawer Bisley to fit underneath hence the Desk advice above. The alternative is to buy a 4 drawer version. The reason for 4 drawers (either 1 x4 or 2x2) is in David Allen's 20 year experience that's what most people need. You can find compressor plates here Bisley Compressor Plate Divider for Filing Cabinet Drawer Ref BSCP5 [Pack of 5] . Try eBay for a god deal on Bisley.
3, Folders The GTD recommendation is for tabbed folders. I have only found 5 tab folders in the UK. These ones are a bit light but good value.Elba Economy Tabbed Folder Recycled Manilla 170gsm Foolscap Buff Ref 20812 [Pack of 100] They're what I use.
4, Label Printer David Allen uses a desk label printer. I prefer a handheld one - and they're cheaper. This is what I use.Brother P-Touch Label Printer Don't forget to stock up on extra cartridges - you'll go through 2 or 3 during your set up at least.Brother TZ231 - Laminated tape - black on white - Roll (1.2 cm x 8 m) - 1 roll(s)
5, Inbox on Desk For your desk you'll want a 3 tray stack. One for IN, one for PENDING and one for OUT.
6, Folder stand In the US they recommend a wire-frame folder holder, couldn't find one in the UK - I use this one from Muji instead. This is for supporting stuff you're working on.
7, A5 lined pads Weird though it sounds having A5 pads rather than A4 makes a lot of difference. With Getting Things Done a key concept is capturing stuff and then putting it in your Inbox for 'processing'. This can range from one word to a couple of paragraphs usually. A4 pads encourage lists and it feels a waste to rip off a page for one word, and messy to keep tearing off bits. There is a lot less resistance to this with an A5 pad. So weird though it may be, buy some. I like these from Rhodia. Ironically cheaper instore at Rymans (not available on Rymans website?). Avoid wire bound ones as these encourage you to keep stuff on them rather than processing it.
8, Mobile Inbox Basically a folder you take with you to file stuff on the go - receipts, ideas, notes, business cards, cuttings .... I like this from Muji.
9, Handy Notetaker Although many of us capture notes digitally these days it's also nice to put pen to paper sometimes. Again Muji make it easy and stylish, see here.
If you have any stuff you use for sorting your stuff on the go or in your office, let me know.