Making reference material useful

How many times don’t you find your self keeping all over the place photos, advertisements, paper clippings and such things, with the excuse that they could be reference materials on future projects?

I know I do and this only helps me to cram my desk with piles of paper bits that never ever get used in the end.

The same applies when saving photos and images from the web on your computer. First you can never find them when you really need them and second, you never remember that you have them!

Lately I found this article with some helpful tips:

You see an article, website, or a page of your notes…

  • Question it. What is the relevance? For what purpose would I refer back to it at some point? If you can’t answer this question, throw the damn thing out! Trust us, it will only serve as clutter and inhibit your productivity. If you do have a clear answer, proceed to the next question.
  • Tag it. Ask, “How should I tag this reference so I can intuitively find it later?” Three months from now, when you are entrenched in a project or the pursuit of an idea, what “keyword” or project name should this reference be filed under?
  • File it. Whether using a software solution or a paper-based system, place the reference in the appropriate place. If you’re not in your office, tag the reference item with an action step like “put in ‘character development’ file” or “insert in reference database under ‘character development.'” Whatever you do, place an action step on the reference to MAKE SURE that it is filed appropriately. Otherwise it will end up floating…

Source: here

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