Create a 1 to 31 folder to manage your paperwork

A 1 to 31 folder may be exactly what you need to manage your paperwork if piles are stressing you out. The 1 – 31 folder is a folder with tabs labeled 1 – 31 (one tab for each day of the month). Allocate todo items to a day of the month and simply open the date each day and action those items. Here’s more detail on how to set it up and how to use it.

Use the 1 to 31 folder to manage your paperwork

Including, but not limited to:

  • items to action
  • reading to undertake
  • forms to complete
  • research to pursue
  • appointments to make
  • information needed on a particular date
  • any paper action item.

Materials you will need

A ring binder or lever arch folder
Divider tabs labeled 1 to 31. I like these pretty ones from Officeworks

Divider tabs for 1 - 31 folder

1 to 31 folder set up

Put the divider tabs labeled 1 to 31 in the lever arch / binder folder
Attach a pretty picture or inspirational saying on the front cover (eg “Make it Happen) so it looks nice sitting on your desk and inspire you to look at it daily.

Tackle your piles of paperwork

Grab a pile of paperwork and view one piece of paper at a time
Read the piece of paper. Does it need to be actioned, or need further reading or research? If so, allocate it to a date (or numbered tab) in the 1 to 31 folder.

Folder for action items
folder for action items

How to use the folder once set up

Store the folder somewhere you will see it.

Each morning pick up the folder and flick to the date.
Turn on your timer for 10 minutes (or longer if you think you will need more time)
Action the item allocated to that day to stay on top piles and manage your paperwork.

Ongoing use of the folder

Continue to add things to action as you come across a new article to be read or topic to be researched.

What’s next?

Allocate your bits of paper to a tab in the 1 – 31 folder to manage your paperwork and reduce overwhelm. Tweak it as you wish eg: add bills to pay or other important tasks to be done on a certain date.

Still need help?

Call me crazy, but I loooove sorting paperwork. Perhaps this passion grew from my 20 plus years as an Executive Assistant / Administrator? There is something cathartic about sorting documents chronologically and by document type that I really enjoy. However, I know a lot of people find paperwork overwhelming. There is often so much of it they don’t know where to start. I love to sit with people and sift through it all (1 piece of paper at a time, if need be). We set up a new system for new incoming paperwork and then tackle the backlog having a good think about what you need to keep and what you can let go of and set up a filing system for what’s left. People feel great relief and more in control of their office once their paperwork is sorted. Reach out to me at

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