I read about this topic in another thread, and it seems there are two schools of thought. Some people suggest that actionable projects should be kept separate from non-actionable reference files, and others suggest that projects & reference files should be mixed in together in the A-Z file system, with the exception of open, active projects being kept out on top of the desk or someplace else more visible.
I realize that there is no one right answer, it is more what works for that particular person. I will be setting up my GTD system and hopefully having it up and running by the end of this month, so I'm currently in the process of trying to figure out all the details of my system, not being entirely sure which will work best for me. With that in mind, I'd like to tell everybody what I'm thinking about doing and I welcome any and all feedback.
Because I am the type of person who has tons of projects that are either in the someday/maybe phase, or inactive at the moment but somehow halfway formulated, I think it is best if I mix these files in with my reference. Particularly, because it seems like a lot of the information that's inside of the project folders would also serve as a reference to some degree.
In order to make sure that no action steps get lost, I would put separate actionable items on the actions list, as well as making sure that each project is indexed on my project index, and I may even have one of my action items be "review this file/project for actionability".
In essence, I am suggesting that my files remain as reference files until I decide to open them as an active project which will most likely come about when I'm reminded of them as part of the weekly review. I'm thinking that this way everything is filed succinctly in one system, but anything that I may want to pull out in the future to actually do something about will be on a separate sheet as a reminder.
For projects that are currently active, I'd like to have separate folders that will sit on top of my desk so that they are always within reach and sight. I think this will help me to finish what I start because I'm also the type of person that gets about 75% through a project and then drops it. Hopefully this will also help my focus if I'm only looking at 1-5 active projects at a time while the other 30-50 projects are filed away for future review.
Because I run my own business from my home, anything related to that business will get its own separate filing cabinet. Other categories that I'm thinking may make sense to break out as a separate discrete drawers or sections would be: financial, health, and hobbies.
Any thoughts and ideas that anybody has for me are entirely welcome. Thank you for all of your input in advance.