# A system to organise your life

**Johnny.Decimal is designed to help you find things quickly, with more confidence, and less stress.**

## The problem

In real life, if you stored your stuff in piles of badly-labelled boxes you’d never find anything again.

If you put *those* boxes in boxes, *in boxes,* you’d never know which box to open to find the next box. It would be chaos.

But I just described how you save your computer files.

# The solution

Imagine your computer as a physical storage space. We can’t put everything on the floor, so we buy some shelves.

If we had a limitless number of shelves, we wouldn’t know which one to look on when we wanted to find something. So we get **ten shelves.**

We decide to **dedicate each shelf to an area of our life.**

The first will contain everything to do with our `life administration`

. The second is for our `home business`

, and the third covers our `music`

hobby.

(Notice that we don’t try to *use* all ten shelves. There’s room to grow.)

Each shelf has space for ten boxes. So we need to decide how to **categorise the things that we’re going to store.**

In `life administration`

we decide on a box each for `finance`

, `health`

, `house`

, `education`

, `technology`

, and `travel`

.

Your categories might be different. Maybe you own a car, or have kids. **You design your system to suit your life.**

Our boxes have space for a number, so we label everything neatly.

(I’ll explain on a later page why the first box isn’t number `01`

or `10`

.)

## File your stuff in folders

Now we have categorised boxes. Let’s organise our travel insurance.

**We put our documents in folders, and store those folders in the boxes.**

Every folder gets a number. This helps us keep track of them. We start at `01`

, and give each new folder the next available number.

So the first item in our `16 Travel`

category might be a trip we took: `16.01 Singapore, Jun 2022`

.

The next item we file is `16.02 Travel insurance`

.

And this is exactly how we structure our file system.

## The Johnny.Decimal ID

Each of our items now has a number. **They’re always two digits, a decimal, and two digits.**

`16.02`

`22.06`

`31.17`

This number is really useful.

### It provides structure

The **Johnny.Decimal ID** tells us exactly where a thing is. The numbers *before* the decimal are the item’s **category,** and they define the **structure** of your system.

At a glance, you know what sort of thing the item contains. You’ll be astonished at how many of your category numbers you remember.

### They’re easy to communicate

They’re short, memorable, and can be spoken out loud. Say it like *“sixteen oh-two”* or *“thirty-one dot seventeen”.*

This is really handy when you want to tell someone (including your future self) where a thing is.

### Things stay where they are

The alphabet is a great way to organise a dictionary, but it’s a terrible way to organise your files.

Alphabetically, things move around as you create other things. So you never get a chance to develop muscle memory: you’re always hunting for what you want.

Numbers solve this problem. In our example above, the categories in area `10-19`

aren’t alphabetical. They sort by the category number.

And so when we create a new category, `17 Aardvark collection`

, nothing moves.

### It imposes limits

Your computer will let you create any number of folders, anywhere you want.

It turns out this is a terrible idea.

**The ‘no more than ten’ concept is at the heart of Johnny.Decimal.**

When you start looking for a thing, you have **no more than ten areas** to choose from. Your thing must be in one of them: select the most appropriate and **now you can ignore the others.**

Now you have **no more than ten categories** to choose from. Repeat the process.

We’ve arrived in a folder with **no more than one hundred IDs.** If you created your thing recently, it’ll be one of the higher numbers. If you created it a while ago, it’ll be one of the lower numbers.

And things that you created together, stick together. The alphabet isn’t around to ruin the party.

## Is this for home or work?

Anywhere you want. The concepts are the same no matter what you want to organise.

# I like it! What next?

The rest of this website contains a detailed description of the system.

I’ve created a comprehensive, start-to-finish guide to setting up your own Johnny.Decimal system.

And we’re in the process of recording a workshop using the workbook as our guide. That’ll be released in April 2024.

If you ever need help there’s a forum.

Click the link below to learn more about **areas and categories.** And welcome to the Johnny.Decimal family.