The 80/20 rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle) is a life saver for me. You can do 80% of the job with 20% of the effort, but it takes 80% of the effort to get the other 20% done. When I first heard about it, I was like “wait, you mean I don’t have to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of this? I can do the job just good enough and move on?!?” (Put another way, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.)
the way I use this is, when I realize that I’m obsessing or trying to make the perfect system, I step back and ask myself, what is it I’m trying to solve for. Am I trying to design a filing system that will be 100% perfect and every paper will fit perfectly into every category? No, I’m just trying to be able to find stuff easier. So my systems tend to be: “Critical stuff (passport, marriage license, mortgage, etc.)”; “Recurring stuff (checklists, stuff I refer to frequently, etc.)” “XYZ stuff (anything that generates enough paperwork to have it’s own file, like my car’s maintenance or the dog’s vet file)” and then “Miscellaneous.” Once MISC gets too big, I look through it and create a new XYZ category or two.
The 20% here is the MISC. file
I also file in layers: To be dealt with; to be filed and just in case.REPORT ABUSE