Rarely does paper organization land at the top of anyone’s list of enjoyable activities. So it is understandable that one might mistake the “muttering game” as a list of the most common phrases of frustration that one mutters under his breath as he deals with the papers.
The “muttering game” is a nontraditional organizing tool for handling papers. In the books Conquering Chronic Disorganization and ADD-Friendly Way to Organize Your Life, professional organizing pioneer Judith Kolberg explains how to play. It is an untraditional way of labeling files for easy retrieval. It relies on emotion to guide naming conventions.
Instead of using traditional words to label files, such as “Bills to Pay,” one can mutter the first phrase that comes to mind. Instead of “Bills,” one might mutter, “The bane of my existence!” or “Collections is gonna come after me!” Having this emotional tie to the category can reduce the time it takes to find time-sensitive documents.
Here are a few other examples:
Pop the first papers into the folders as you create them. When you encounter other documents that lead to the same feeling, add them to the folders. By the end of your game, you have hopefully cleared space to deal with said papers.
For this tactic, you will need folders with tabs extending across the entire width instead of traditional one-third-cut tabs. You will need all that extra space at the top to write your phrases.
Try this unconventional tactic if traditional labeling techniques have left you feeling defeated. I would love to hear what phrases you create; I will venture to guess that they will be amusing and memory-provoking.
Author: Judith Dold
Musings from yours truly about all things organizing.