Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP, ACC
Civil Engineer, Author, Coach and Speaker
Author of Engineer Your Own Success: 7 Key Elements to Creating an Extraordinary Engineering Career
Anthony is also the author of a FREE e-mail service for engineers called A Daily Boost from Your Professional Partner. Click here to read about this service.
I read a book not too long ago entitled Getting Things Done by David Allan. The book provides strategies and an overall process for getting organized and becoming more productive. One strategy that I’ve been able to take from this book and not only use myself, but also help engineers to implement through coaching is David’s A to Z filing system.
It is common amongst us civil engineers for papers to pile up on our desk throughout the course of the day. Papers, plans, invoices, etc can swallow up our office. Every once in a while it will become so overbearing that we’ll take a whole day and clean out our office which usually consists of throwing most of these items out. Does this sound familiar?
David’s A to Z system is a great process that will help you to get and STAY organized. Here is how it works. Start by designating one large filing drawer or an entire filing cabinet for you’re A to Z system. Fill the cabinet with 26 hanging folders and label them A through Z. Next, start making a list of all of the items that you might file away (i.e. example, specifications, estimates, manufacturers information, stormwater guidelines, etc.). Then create a file folder for each one of these items and be sure to label them clearly. Then the fun part begins. Starting with your desk begin to file away items into the proper folders. You may have to create new folders along the way or slightly modify the system over the first few weeks. For example, you might have to decide on whether you want to use the word ‘drainage’ or ‘stormwater’ which will determine whether that folder ends up in ‘D’ or ‘S.’
After a few weeks of implementing this system, your office will be clean! Then you just have to work on keeping it clean, which is pretty easy with this system. As items come across your desk simply file them into the proper folder or create a new one, when necessary.
You may think that this system is extremely simplistic and actually it is. I have successfully implemented this system both in my office and in my home and I never have a problem finding something. I hope this tip is helpful for you can bring more balance to both your career and your life.
Please share any organizational strategies that you are currently using!