Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
One of the most frustrating things is when you get somewhere and realize you don’t have everything you need. I’ve recently started working with binders to help avoid that problem. Here is why, and how to use binders to boost your productivity and simplify what you carry.
The Manila Folder: Used and Abused
The staple of the modern office is the manila folder (no, DCB, it’s not “vanilla” folder). They are all the same size, built of sturdy card stock, and can be opened to hold a whole bunch of stuff. These wonderful little things are great for filing things, and that is their intended purpose. But that’s also the operative word…they are for filing. Manila folders are best used to store information in a place that doesn’t change.
Why Use Binders?
My main reason for using binders is that I want to have something I can grab and go. I want all related papers, items, notes, documents and other such material in one place so that I don’t have to search for it.
The Advantanges of Binders
Binders Can Hold More Than Folders
Binders can hold far more than folders. Get a 4-inch spine 3-ring binder, and you can pack it to 4 inches without having it open more than perpendicular. (Try to do that with a manila folder and you will end up with a bent and sorry-looking cardboard taco shell for your stuff)
Binders Are More Secure Than Folders
Since binders have a way to bind paper together (hench the name “binder”), you can secure your paper inside and not have to worrry about accidentally losing everything should you hold it upside down.
The most common of the bindings is the rings, and you can get them in 3 (most common for larger pieces of paper) down to 6 rings.
Binders Can Be Segmented
One of the beauties of binders is that they can be easily segmented. Even without buying dividers, you can craft some out of stiff paper and sticky notes. The segments can than be used for related pieces of the projects.
Binders Are Perfect For On The Go
The beauty of binders is that you can keep everything together in one place and have it ready to go. Have a client meeting? Grab the binder with all the related papers. Have a committee meeting? Grab the binder with the minutes, forms, etc.
My Current Binders
I have recently expanded my list of in-use binders to make my crazy-busy life a bit more manageable. Here is what I am using:
I have a zippered binder cover around this binder. The cover gives me a place to keep pens, sticky notes, my Girl Scout pins, and the petty cash fund for the troop. Inside I have sections for the current month/meeting, an archive of meetings, financial information, service unit news, girl registration papers and health histories, fall product and cookies.
No matter what sort of Girl Scout meeting I am going to, whether it is girl or leader, training or planning, I grab the binder and I have everything I need.
My current schooling is a bit odd. Since I am not in a degree program, but rather a licensure program, I have classes that last anywhere from 4 weeks to one session. I have single binder that lists what I have done during each session, along with notes from those sessions. Each class has a summary page that holds the date, the subject, and anything I need to follow up on.
Since I am preparing to go into a classroom, I have two binders started for “teacher stuff”. The first contains my teaching portfolio. The second is my classroom management binder. Both hold information that I am told will be requested during interviews.
My blog planning used to live in my regular planner, but I found that it would get lost there. In addition, I really wasn’t using it to plan…it was just a group of lists. Now my planner lives in a Rollabind binder and is pulled out whenever I am going to work on the blog.
Garden season is right around the corner for me (actually this coming weekend we will put everything in the ground). My garden binder has information about what I planted where in the past, as well as articles (in plastic sleeves) about pest control, companion planting, zone information and square foot gardening.
My last binder is for my digital scrapbooking. I do exclusively digital scrapbooking, which means that I have lots of files on my computer. The problem with that is that I don’t know what will work because I can’t see what I have. My small scrapbooking binder contains pictures of every element and kit I have available so that I don’t have to spend my precious scrapbooking time searching though the files on my computer. In addition, when I attend “scrap ins” I grab the book and my computer and I am ready to go.
I use binders to help segment my life and make things easier to manage. I keep specific areas in binders, and can grab-and-go, knowing I have everything I need with me inside that binder.
Ask The Readers
Do you use binders to simplify? Is there an area you could try them? What could you gain by using binders to keep things together for on-the-go?
Photo by jkfid. Licensed under Creative Commons.