3. Filing in Broad Categories
at first I thought the best way to file these papers would be in lots of different categories, with each category stored in a different physical file folder. I thought hard about the categories, often feeling quite pleased with the cleverness of associating a particular paper with a particular category. And I had the principle that if too many papers accumulated in one category, I should break it up into new categories.
All this at first seemed like a good idea. But fairly quickly I realized it wasn’t. Because too often when I wanted to find a particular paper I couldn’t figure out just what cleverness had caused me to associate it with what category. And the result was that I completely changed my approach. Instead of insisting on narrow categories, I allowed broad, general categories—with the result that I could easily have 50 or more papers filed in a single category (often ending up with multiple well-stuffed physical file folders for a given category)
Having broad categories instead of narrow ones may seem inefficient, but so is spending mental time thinking through micro categorization.