I’m Clearing Out Some Old Files

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m in the office. That’s very unusual, despite what you may have been told.

My group moved last week from a space on the west side of the building to a space on the east side. It’s your standard cubicle space, with one major exception: the cubes are right up against the windows. Not only that, but I am in the corner and so have two walls of windows behind me.

This change has completely transformed my space. I may not have an office with a door, but I have no foot traffic and a lot of natural light. I think I’m going to like it over here. In fact to be honest this is now a more comfortable workspace than anything I have at home, and I could see myself using it more often because of that.

I just wish I could open the windows.

When I moved over here on Friday I took all my files with me, and it got me wondering how many of them were even useful any more, and how many were completely out of date and no longer work keeping around. I don’t use my file cabinets much, and I couldn’t tell you with certainty what was and wasn’t filed. I tend to default to more of a “piles of paper on the desk” mode and then occasional document cleanup when those piles get out of hand.

Because most of my work is on the computer paper tends to be an intermediate product: something to review, mark up, and comment on but later to be incorporated back into drawings or documents on the computer. That means that as long as I capture my comments the actual data and drawings are already stored and filed either on my laptop or on the file server, and the paper is unneccessary.

That’s why I’m sitting at my desk with the window blinds wide open, an excellent cup of coffee next to me, and a stack of manilla folders full of paper. So far I’ve only needed a few of the documents in the files I have reviewed, and all of those have simply been scanned to PDF and archived in the project folders. The rest have either been useless (in which case, why did I file them?) or printouts of reports I already have in PDF form and which are no longer necessary to keep on paper.

Posted on 07 April 2012