How Adding Pull Dates To Files Saves You Time

August 21, 2007

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Adding “pull dates” to files saves time when purging or archiving your active file drawer.

80% of what we file away, never gets looked at again. That means that at any given time, 4 out of 5 of our files are basically useless.

I can almost hear the protests now, “But this one time I really needed to find an important file … after 30 minutes of looking I finally found it - now, I’m scared to throw anything out!”. Hey that’s ok by me, as long as you’ve got enough room and are so inclined - keep everything!

However, if you take that approach, you should develop a systematic approach for archiving folders you’d like to keep - but rarely access. That way, the next time you go hunting for that special file, you’ll be wading through far fewer “useless” files. Thus saving you all kinds of time.

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So what’s a good approach to archiving files?

First, when labeling folders, include a “pull date” right after the file name (see photo above). The pull date is your best guess for when that file will be removed from your “active” file drawer and archived in another location or discarded.

Second, when your active file drawer becomes full, quickly scan your folders, removing any files with “pull dates” that have already passed - and yes this can be just as bad as smelling sour milk! But it works.

Third, archive your folders by subject and date in another location (remember to label them clearly). Other locations could include: another file cabinet or drawer, or possibly a file box.

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