Here’s a little trick which may help you to find more quickly the files which you use all the time. If you have your files arranged by subject or in alphabetical order, you probably find that you have to think quite hard in order to find them. I used to find that quite difficult. First of all I had to remember what the file was called, then find the right place where it should be. I often found it wasn’t where it ought to be but had moved somehow into the wrong place. It was just as difficult when I was putting the file away - I had to think in order to know what to do with it.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to find a website address in your browser when the items are ordered so the last used is at the top? It is far the fastest way of finding something that you use regularly. Our minds are pretty good at telling how long ago it was when we last used something.
It’s very easy to do the same thing with files. Personally, rather than use a filing cabinet, I have all my papers filed in lever arch files arranged on a bookshelf. Whenever I use a file I always put it back at the left end of the top shelf. I move the other files along to give it space. So all the files are now arranged in the order I last used them. Result: I can lay my hands instantly on every file that I use frequently. Another advantage is that I don’t have to think about where to put a file when I have finished with it. It always goes in the same spot - the left end of the top shelf.
I found the system worked so well for files that I now use it for books too. No longer do I lose books that I am reading. I know exactly where to put them so that I can find them again. I can also see exactly when I last looked at any particular book. It’s a very simple system, but it works!