Hamster Revolution Email and Electronic File Management System

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Back in May of this year, I wrote about my new favorite financial organization/filing system that I implemented after reading David Bach’s book, Smart Couples Finish Richorganization system jobs email  (see the following link for details – My Personal Finance Journey Financial Organization System).
Since implementing this file folder system, my ability to store and locate hard copies of my financial papers has improved dramatically.
Almost equally as effective for me as this hard copy filing system has been an email and electronic filing and management system, created by using advice received in two books – Getting Things Doneorganization system jobs email by David Allen and The Hamster Revolutionorganization system jobs email by Mike Song, et al. Since this system has improved my life and time management ability significantly, I wanted to share it with you all as well.
Today, we’ll start with the portion of the system that I obtained from reading The Hamster Revolutionorganization system jobs email

Overall, the book (which I highly recommend you reading – just click on the link above to buy a cheap used copy from Amazon.com for $0.02!!!) is organized in to 5 sections, as described below.
  • How to reduce email volume
  • How to improve email quality
  • Organizing information (email, hard drive, shared drives, teamsites, anywhere!)
  • How to coach others on email
  • Answers to further questions

To read the complete summary of the book, click on the Google Docs / Word document link below.

While all of the book’s sections offer great advice, I wanted to focus mainly on the “Organizing information” section, as this is what has contributed the most value to my life.

The section starts off by describing some of the challenges of organizing and finding information effectively. Several of the main challenges are listed below.
  • Too many overlapping categories and/or categorization methods exist.
  • There are too many primary folders in your system.
  • Different shared drives, personal drives, and team sites employ mismatched folder systems, making it impossible to know where to store or find the information when you need it.
To combat this insanity, Mike Song proposes a bulletproof system that I have implemented (and would recommend that you try out). 
It’s called the COTAP System.
What is the COTAP System exactly?

The COTAP System is an email and data/information management system that Mike invented after studying many different types of business and what sorts of information flows within these organizations.

What he found was that in all industries, all email and/or information fits in to one of 5 categories – Clients, Output, Teams, Admin, and Personal. I am a big believer in this philosophy. I have found that both at home and at work, all of my information really does fall in to one of these 5 categories.

Furthermore, I have found this system to be effective not only for my emails but also for organizing my electronic files on  my hard drive.

How do I implement the COTAP System?

To create the COTAP folder system on your computer, simply follow the guidelines below, creating folders for each main category and subcategory.

  • Clients – Your team’s internal or external clients
    • Create a subfolder for each one of your clients
  • Output – Your team’s products and services
    • Create a folder for each product, project, or service you are involved in.
    • Also create “general output” folder
  • Teams – Your team
    • Create a folder for each team of which you are a member.
    • Examples would include budget teams, new pharmaceutical drug team, etc.
  • Admin – Your non-core-job responsibilities
    • Create a folder for each non-core-job responsibility
    • Examples would include training, benefits, etc.
  • Personal - Personal information that is non-job related.
    • Examples would include Toastmaster’s public speaking club, Jonny’s karate schedule, cycling team, etc.
  • After creating all of your respective folders, place desktop shortcuts to all of your main COTAP folders so that you can access them quickly.
Note: If there is an overlap and you don’t know where something should go, default to the order of COTAP listed above.

Show below is a screen shot/example of the COTAP system set up on my Outlook email account. Proof that you can do it too!

organization system jobs email
My COTAP Folders

How about you all? What email/information organization system do you use? Are you satisfied with the results?
Have you implemented the Hamster Revolution COTAP organization system?
Share your experiences by commenting below! 
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Related articles about email and information organization at several of my favorite personal finance blogs:

Weekly Roundup – Back to School Edition – Week of July 26th

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My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

This week marks my last week in the workforce for several years, as I have resigned my current job in anticipation of going to graduate school this fall to get my PhD in Chemical Engineering (I must be crazy).
It was a very important week for me financially because I received my last real paycheck and more importantly, closed on my condo where I’ll be moving for graduate school. The moving truck comes this Monday, August 2nd! Exciting times!

It was also a very active week for My Personal Finance Journey. Five of our articles were selected to participate in blog carnivals throughout the blogosphere.

Check out the posts that were selected, as well as the other very informative articles that were selected in the contests, by clicking on any one of the links below.



Additionally, listed below are several blog articles that caught my eye (and I commented on) throughout the week. Stop by their respective blogs and take a look!



Keep on learning!


How about you all? Did any big events in your financial lives happen this week? Did you participate in any of these blog carnivals?


Are there any blog carnivals I am missing submitting articles to? Let me know!

Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Help a Reader: To Refinance a Car or Not?

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My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

Here’s an email I recently received from a reader:

I have a financial question for you. 

Currently, the interest rate of my car loan is 5.75% per year. And, I am wondering if I should refinance my car loan with a 3.99% interest per year loan that I found with my company’s credit union.

 I have paid off 50% of the original loan amount, and only have ~$7,000 left to pay.

At the current rate I am paying off the loan, I will pay off the loan completely in 3 years from now. I have a good job and a steady paycheck each month, and am 23 years old.

Would it be a good financial move for me to refinance with this lower interest rate loan? Any help would be appreciated.

What’s your advice for her?

Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Related articles about helping readers at my favorite personal finance blogs:
Free Money Finance – Help a Reader – Paying off a House
Free Money Finance – Help a Reader – To Refinance My Home Or Not

First Time Visitor Start Page Now Ready!

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My Personal Finance Journey Homepage

Recently, while reading an article by Bucksome Boomer about her experiences at the Savvy Blogging Summit Conference in Breckenridege, CO (I know what you’re thinking – what a sweet place to have a conference!), I came across a recommendation that she took away from the conference that was to make a “first timers,” or “start page” on your blog to make it more accessible for newcomers surfing the web.
I thought this was a great idea, and today, I put together a first pass try at the start page.
The page can be accessed at any time from the link at the top of the page. I have also copied the link below.
Click on the link and give it a try!

Is there anything else that should be included that I might have overlooked? Let me know by commenting below!

Your feedback helps!

Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at My Personal Finance Journey in your email inbox each evening by clicking the link below and entering your email address. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time.

Subscribe to My Personal Finance Journey via Email