I love this system to keep all current actionable papers in one place so you can retrieve and deal with them in a timely manner. However, you must be willing to look at this file on a daily basis in order for it to work.
When a new piece of paper comes in, decide then and there whether it requires further action. If not, file it or toss it or list pertinent information on your calendar. If it’s a bill, file it in the day slot a few days before the due date so you have time to mail it. If you pay bills at a regular time each month, file it in that day’s slot. I highly recommend having a spreadsheet for recurring bills and moving that sheet accordingly through the days/months as you pay your bills so you can see at a glance where you stand. This has saved me a few times from paying late fees when I realized a bill must have gotten lost in the mail because I saw on the sheet it had not been paid yet.
If a paper needs follow-up <further research or thought or consulting with someone else about it> … you can file it a few days hence in order to be sure it doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Toward the end of each month, be sure to look at next month’s papers and re-distribute them into the “day” slots, especially for things toward the beginning of the month. Think about when you will realistically be able to act on what’s important. If you allow yourself some leeway, you can always move it to the next day if other urgent things come up. This keeps the important things always in the forefront.
This system has worked for me for years … as long as I check it daily. If I know I will be out of town, I take care of what’s coming up earlier than usual or I postpone it until I get back. I always know where to look for important papers. If my daughter has a school activity that gets listed in the calendar, if there are details I need to keep track of, I file the paper appropriately so I know what needs to be done in preparation. If I am going on a trip, the itinerary and tickets get filed. It’s a great retrieval system so I always know where current actionable important papers are ... no more wasting time searching!
Let me know if you have any questions … I’ll be happy to answer them!