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Color Me Organized


Letting Color Bring Life to Your Workday

Color tells a story. The use of color can eliminate the stress of finding things in a file drawer or simply seeing what you have coming up on your calendar. If the color triggers an association, then it can shorten the time to find things easily.

Specific colors can be implemented in your calendar, your notebook, or your email categories to quickly alert you to your next action or the type of activity coming up. For a filing or piling system, colors can be utilized in the choice of a folder, label, and even a dot or pen color used on the label. Here is how I have seen and heard color implemented through the years.

Red is a powerful color, easily recognizable. It stands out. It is one of the most popular colors to represent an actionable item. It is the most common color to alert clients that something is of upmost importance and needs immediate attention.

Orange is a warm color, creating a sense of welcome. Halfway between red and yellow, it is often chosen to represent pending, waiting, or ‘on hold’. Some people use it as a secondary color to red indicating that this is a second priority level item. It can also be used to symbolize the fall season, or holidays like Halloween.

Yellow is a bright and cheerful color. Think of it as a highlighter. Or because of its use in traffic lights, consider it as a warning. It can be utilized as a secondary color coding for pending and waiting items. If you like to use a yellow highlighter, think of your yellow file in the same way. You can fill it with must-read files or important items waiting to be filed for reference.

Green is the growth color. Depending on your profession, it can represent anything from money to nature. If seeing green means finances to you, then use it for everything financial including investments, information, and transactions. Green can also represent health and beauty for some clients. It can be a reset button for the brain when it’s time to take a walk outdoors or work in a garden. Why not fill your green folder with healthy activities or the part of your job that energizes you?

Blue is color of tranquility. It represents calm or quiet. Take a deep breath and think of your own places of rest. Because of its serenity, many people associate it with creativity, innovation, vacations or dreams. Blue also embodies anything associated with the sky and the ocean, two expansive realms. Because of this, it can be used for blue ocean projects where there are no limits for innovation.

Purple is a color of nobility and royalty. I have seen many clients use it to represent their personal interests. Because of its prestige, it can also signify inspirational or aspirational activities. Use your imagination and come up with something that works for you. Fill your purple folder with information about executives, noble pursuits, dreams of success, or whatever is most important to you.

Black is the lack of all color and carries an air of finality or clarity. Rather than introducing colors, experiment with black and various shades of gray for a simplistic approach. It can represent standard or general tasks. Some people like to store their finished projects in black folders to demonstrate completeness.

Brown is one of the most versatile colors in your organizing arsenal. In today’s culture it connotes natural and sustainable. If your business happens to have anything to do with chocolate or coffee, brown would be a winning color. Some use it for grounding activities, tying the color brown back to the soil or the earth.

If you like colors, be creative. Let loose. Try some color mixtures and see if they work for you. Try red, yellow, green and black. Red for anything urgent, yellow for midlevel priorities, green regular items to do, and black for completed items that are ready to be filed.

If you work in financial service, try red and black for your clients. If you have clients that are at risk with their portfolios, put them in the red files. For your clients who are in overall healthy positions, store them in black folders.

If you’re in the travel business, choose colors that represent seasons or locations. You can have blue folders for beach or lake vacations, yellow for warm vacation spots, white for winter wonderlands, and brown for mountain resorts.

If you are in sales, green can be the money clients, the clients most likely to produce big income. Try out apricot orange for the low hanging fruit, or black for dead files. You can even pull out the dead files once a month or once a quarter to see if you can bring them back to life again.

Try starting all your new clients in white folders, giving them a clean slate for their new journey with you. Find golden folders for clients who have been with you for more than ten years.

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