Exceptions to the rules
There are situations where it makes sense to break the rules.
Storing things with dates in them
An example from my life: I sent weekly timesheets to a company I worked for. Category
14 Timesheets & expenses is where I kept them.
I thought about creating a new number for each week’s timesheets, which would have looked like this:
I would have needed to track those numbers — an overhead I didn’t need. The system is meant to make my life easier.
Folders inside Johnny.Decimal folders
I told you not to do this. I am not to be trusted.
Here’s how my timesheets folder looks:
YYWW folders1 inside
14.01 Weekly timesheets. I did this because it makes more sense this way.
2319 is a better way to represent ‘the 19th week of 2023’ than
14.19, and it sorts chronologically.
My timesheets are still in one place. I haven’t broken the Johnny.Decimal system because everything is still very organised.
Emailing my weekly timesheet
When I email my weekly timesheet to the boss, I use the following subject line:
Timesheets and expenses [14.01.2319]
I’m extending the use Johnny.Decimal numbers in your email subject concept by putting the full number, including the
YYWW bit, in the subject. Our number has grown, but that’s okay because it’s still very structured.
This allows me — or the boss — to find any timesheet instantly. Search in Outlook for
[14.01.2319] and the only thing that appears is my timesheet for this specific week.
This is incredibly useful when I have to remind him to approve it so that I can get paid. (He gets far too much email and, unfortunately, I’m the only one that sends it to him already categorised.)
I need to keep old copies of files. Say it’s a spreadsheet that I’m updating, but I want to keep the previous version in case I mess it up.
This is also an exception to the ‘you can’t create a folder inside a Johnny.Decimal folder’ rule. In this case, feel free to create a folder called
archive and move things in to it.
Similarly I often need to send someone a point-in-time export of a file. A schedule on a specific date, say.
These go in an
exports folder and I always append the date to the filename.
I use ‘year-week’ as my date format for this sort of thing because it sorts chronologically, so
2301was the first week of 2023. ↩︎