A remark today by a reader in my Discussion Forum reminded me of something which had intrigued me in the past but which I had never followed up. This is the Noguchi Filing System. I was intrigued by it because it is in some ways similar to the filing system which I use myself and often recommend, though I developed this before I had heard of Noguchi.
In both systems the idea is that files are put on a shelf rather than in a filing cabinet, and the most recently used file is always replaced at the left end of the shelf so that files are in the order they were last used. This results in much faster retrieval of files because the most used files are always to be found towards the left of the shelf.
Where the systems differ is that I keep papers in fairly conventional subject files, while Noguchi suggests opening a folder (actually a cut-down large envelope) for every document.
I was very interested to know how this would work in practice. It is one of those counter-intuitive systems which can only be judged by trying it out.
So having armed myself with a large number of C4 envelopes, I started filing the Noguchi way this afternoon. And actually my first impression is that it works quite well, especially with the type of document one never quite knows what to do with.
- A leaflet giving changes to my bank’s standard tariff
- A pamphlet from my bank giving “important information” about my business account
- A pamphlet giving the Terms & Conditions for my business bank account
- My list of commonly used phone numbers
- A newspaper article about “Discretionary Portfolio Management”
- The latest copy of my Parish Magazine
- The latest weekly “pew sheet” from my church