A Neat Personal Productivity Tool – 43 Folders

Lately I’ve noticed with with some pleasure that friends and family who are not what I would call ‘online people’ or likely to be spending a lot of time blogging, are contacting me to draw my attention to blogging-related articles in newspapers and magazines. Seems they’ve “got” what I do.

For example, a neighbour, who is an accountant, dropped by a couple of days ago and lent me a professional magazine of his, INTHEBLACK, the Australian CPA’s magazine under its fancy new title. What had caught his eye, and which he thought would be of interest to me, was an item about a San Francisco blogger, Merlin Mann, editor and creator of 43folders.com, a blog about “personal productivity, life hacks and simple ways to make your life a little better”.

The blog’s title, “43 folders”, refers to the number of manila folders required to build a physical tickler file system.

Twelve monthly folders and 31 daily folders are used to build a rotating, one-year “look ahead” system. Maintained daily, it’s a powerful lofi hack for never forgetting to do something (and, consequently, not having to worry about forgetting to do something).

We use a ring binder with 31 dividers to manage when bills are due for payment, but I hadn’t thought of taking the principle a step further. Seems pretty practical – a ‘wish I’d thought of that’ solution to a common problem.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the comment Shirley. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that as the technology for organising our businesses and lives gets more and more sophisticated, a number of us are re-discovering the advantages of paper and 3-ring binders! And I hope readers of this will check out your Solo Business Marketing blog for the great tips and links you provide there.

  2. I’m glad to read that we both use ring binders to stay organized. My binder contains between 6-8 tabs which feature the projects most important for 2006 (don’t remember how many tabs. I’m in Orlando for a speaking engagement).

    The first/main tab includes a 12-month view of my main goals for the year and how each will be accomplished.

    For me, the ring binder is the easiest format. I can pick it up and see where I’m headed rather than turn on a computer and wait for it to wake up. And what if the computer decides not to work? Shutter the thought.