Tracking your numbers

You must have a central index. You might think that your folder structure—in Finder or Windows Explorer—is that index, but it isn’t.

You will create Johnny.Decimal numbers to save things that aren’t files. That might be an email, a note, a physical object, or anything else.

Avoid duplication of numbers

When you’re assigning Johnny.Decimal numbers to different types of objects, you need to know that the number is unique.

You don’t want to have to look in your file system, your email, and your notes application to check what the next available number in a category is: you need a central index.

Search for things

When you’re saving all sorts of items in your system, you won’t always remember where they are. Did you save the office contract in your email, or your shared drive? You might look in your drive, not see the contract, and think you didn’t save it.

The whole point of the Johnny.Decimal system is to remove this frustration.

Having a central index allows you to search for items by title, or filter your entire list by area or category. This lets you see, immediately, what you’ve saved.

If your system also tells you where that item is, then all the better.

What do we use?

Simple answer: the web app I’ve built specifically for this purpose.

If you don’t want to use my app, there are plenty of alternatives.

Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers

Create a spreadsheet and save your numbers there.

| Area                 | Category       | JD #  | Title             |
|----------------------|----------------|-------|-------------------|
| 10-19 Finance        | 11 Tax returns | 11.01 | 2016 tax return   |
| 10-19 Finance        | 11 Tax returns | 11.02 | 2017 tax return   |
| 10-19 Finance        | 12 Payroll     | 12.01 | ...etc.           |
| 20-29 Administration | 22 Contracts   | 22.01 | Cleaning contract |
| 20-29 Administration | 22 Contracts   | 22.02 | Office lease      |
| ...etc.              |                |       |                   |

SharePoint lists

If you work for a large organisation, you may be able to ask your IT people to create you a list in SharePoint.

Any other database

You can use any database system you like. Airtable is a great online database.

But really, just use my app :-)

If you’re going to be doing this seriously, you need a proper tool. After using Johnny.Decimal myself since 2011, I’ve built that tool. You should use it. ❤️