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File Don't Pile a Proven Filing System for Personal and Professional Use by Pat Dorff File Don't Pile a Proven Filing System for Personal and Professional Use
by Pat Dorff

Paperback: 193 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.60 x 8.24 x 5.44
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; (July 1986)
ISBN: 0312289316

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Customer Reviews
This is a life saver, June 6, 2001
Reviewer: Amber from Denton, Texas United States
If you are a major paper person (and I am), this is the format for you. When you read the book, it does sound complicated and like a lot of work. When you actually do it, however, it is the simplist thing ever. I kept saying to my husband, "I can't believe how little time it takes to get this stuff filed!". It actually encourages me to file because it's so simple. And it doesn't require upkeep everyday. In fact, I probably only truly file every 3-4 weeks. In addition, the book only takes a few hours to read, so if you decide you like what you're doing better (if you do, tell me about it) you haven't really wasted much time. It's a very easy read, and a very simple system for filing and retrieving a variety of papers on a variety of topics.

I've used this system more than 10 years & love it!, May 13, 2001
Reviewer: groovy_vegan from Kirkland, WA United States
I bought this book when I was buried in papers and had a chaotic filing system. I was attracted to the subtitle, "A Proven Filing System for Personal and Professional Use," and not wanting to reinvent the wheel, decided I would faithfully follow this system step-by-step for a month. If I didn't like it, I didn't have to stick with it. That was more than 10 years ago. I followed her easy 5-step plan and it works beautifully. It only looks complicated when you skip around the book.

Recently, I had some furniture delivered to a consignment shop and the store owner called and asked if I could possibly find my original receipts. I told her to hold a moment, and within seconds, pulled the receipts from my files and told her how much I paid. She said, "You must be a very organized person to have found those so quickly!" I said, "No, I just have a very good filing system!"

I liked that once I planned the major file categories, I had quick visible results by sorting the papers into the appropriate boxes. So my mess was cleaned up right away as I was implementing the system. The system's easy to maintain as well. I also like the fact Pat Dorff's a librarian who understands the filing needs of folks like me who save paper in our many areas of interest.

One reviewer recommends Julia Morgenstern's "Organizing from the Inside Out" instead of this book for filing. I've read Julia's book twice and am in the process of implementing Julia's system for overall household organization. However, when it comes to paperwork, I much prefer Pat Dorff's system. I find Pat's system strategizes the paper problems better, is easier to implement and maintain, and is more flexible when new categories come up. Also, Pat has an extensive discussion of all sorts of filing problems, such as presorting, you can't decide how to label an item, an item is too big to fit in a file folder, etc. Finally, Pat's numerical system nicely deals with the lining up the tabs problem, while Julie's straight-line system (all tabs lined up in the same position) looks nice, but is harder to on the eye to use, and wastes the folders with center tabs.

Summary of my experience with this system: Great for filing, retrieving papers, & keeping the place neat for over a decade!

Yes and No, July 21, 2000
Reviewer: mjh1963 from Sydney, Australia
I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend, who'd described to me its analysis of personality type as it affects the question of organization. I found Dorff's analysis of the kinds of problems different personalities experience with organization pretty persuasive, and amusing, too. The only problem was that while I felt identified, I didn't find her solutions very amenable to my ways of thinking and working. To be honest, this book offers a system that would work in my house, or mind, for about five minutes. I was exhausted just reading what I was supposed to do. If you're the type of person who has lots of things on the boil, organizes your own workspace, and your organizational skills aren't matched by the need you have *for* organization, I'd recommend Julie Morgenstern's Organizing From the Inside Out instead. If you have some support for the organizational structure you wish to introduce (for example, if you work in a company where someone else does the filing!) this book offers a pretty flexible and practical model.

Help for the cluttered individual executive!, June 10, 2000
Reviewer: Bob Goedken from Nebraska, USA
I'm a SVP of Marketing and Sales, and have never been happy with my filing system. It seemed to change constantly as conditions change. I find that the File Don't Pile system can help with specific instructions to keep you organized as conditions change. It is a little hard to implement, but once you are there, it is worth the effort!

With the Paperdex, you can find ANYTHING!, January 25, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from Illinios, USA
This is a great book, she's got a system that definitely works! My only adjustment to it would be to also write the file name on the tab along with the Paperdex reference number. The numbers make the system fool-proof when re-filing folders and articles, especially if the # is also listed on the article itself. But I am too impatient however, to always look up everything in the Paperdex first to find the file number and really appreciate the file name also being readily available on the tab! My favorite aspect of this system is its cross-reference capability. I no longer have to worry about where to file it if it relates to more than one subject! It really works!!! :)

Great, but follow ALL the steps in order., October 23, 1998
Reviewer: A reader from southern California
I'm FINALLY getting my paper organized, thanks to "File...Don't Pile!" However it wasn't easy. I thought that I was a special case and skipped some of the planning and consolidating steps that she lays out. As a result, 3 years later, I'm finally in the home stretch in the race against paperwork.

Make it easy on yourself and FOLLOW THE EASY STEPS IN ORDER!!!! Pat lays out a simple five step plan to prepare to file your paperwork. She also outlines two simple, but adaptable filing systems, indexes, ways to prevent feeling overwelmed by the filing task and how to maintain and live like a person who has control of their paper. I haven't done it all...yet, but I'm much closer to having my paper organized.

If you're feeling buried by paper, get this book now! I did a lot of looking around at other books on paperwork organization, but this one impressed me with its thoroughness. Pat Dorff is a professional librarian and she deftly adapts the tools of her profession to home use. This woman knows how to manage paper with information on it. If you read and follow the simple step by step instructions you will too.

My only improvement on her system is putting a copy of the indexes that I've created on my 3Com PalmPilot and on my husband's as well. The thought of being able to search by keyword for a category, subject or cross-reference and have it come up with the exact file location is the ideal enhancement to this book and the only way that I can think of to improve upon it.

A must read if your career has lots of diverse paperwork., January 12, 1997
Reviewer: A reader
Though 10 years old, the methods presented for organizing papers work because (1) they are detailed (2) well-thought out (3) adaptable and (4) efficient. The problem with many organizing books is that they assume that you will magically know how to STAY ORGANIZED. Much of this book looks at how to stay organized once you go through the pain. Both my wife and I have adopted the file system and are impressed with (1) how quickly we were able to organize our current files and (2) how easy it is to stay organized. Greg Shannon, PhD. Ames, Iowa

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