I am new to post in this forum, despite of the fact that I frequently read here.
I am a graduate student in Physics - pretty poor living on stipends:P. And I have been starting GTD for ~1 month now. The initial setup phase, is settling down, and I am trying to tune the system to best suit my needs.
According to David, one of the things I do is to set up an alpha system for general reference filing.
I don't have much stuff to file, so I'm able to fit them into 1 drawer. My current system consists of the followings:
/i 26 hanging folders labeled A-Z
/ii every manila folder files stuff to its own right (even 1 piece of paper as David puts it), which is in turn put into the corresponding hanging folder according to the first letter in the label.
My question is:
I have been wondering if I should setup a database for the filing system, so I can search the inside by keywords, and exactly locate what I want, when I need it.
Pros is: I have exact knowledge about my general reference, out of my mind, which I can even carry on the go with my PDA
/i every time I file something, I need to enter its data. Though I can streamline it to just a few clicks and typings, I wonder if it adds to my mental resistence to file.
/ii then, assume I can overcome this mental load (as I think keeping the database is a fun thing by itself), is it a practical approach? Provided the sometimes dynamical nature of our filing, I might need to update the database every time I move something in/out. It tremendously adds to the complexity, as I need to remind myself to update the database every time I access something, or I cannot trust it (esp sometimes you just need to grab sth out for a while).
So, with these ponders in mind, I am not sure if I should spend the time setting it up, and maintain it up to date. As most people here put it, the system should be as simple as possible, but not too simple.
/i Is a database really worthwhile to do?
/ii Is the sacrifice in simplicity worth the benefit?
/iii if a database is a good-to-go, which software should I use?
/iv if a database is not worthwhile, is there any solid naming techniques or conventions so I can still access what I need in my reference as its volume grows?
Sorry for these many questions. I am truly grateful for any advice!!