Using a pre-made file system can be a great idea, but only if you buy into it completely. Systems in general, filing and other, often have lots of moving parts that need to mesh together so if you leave one out because you don’t really like it, the system will eventually break.
For example, if you color code your file folders, you have to continue to do it, and you have to continue to use the same colors. If you run out of yellow, you can’t just start using the orange ones. You know, the ones you have a ton of because you didn’t need that color initially.
The problem is that this will seem to make sense in the moment and you’ll be quite sure that you’re going to remember that yellow means yellow and now orange also means yellow.
But, my friend, life will intrude and sometime next year when you are looking for something in the yellow category you won’t find it because it’s in an orange folder and you only substituted orange folders for a few months until you broke down and bought some more yellow ones, so you completely forgot about that and occasionally you idly wonder what the heck is in those orange folders, but you haven’t had time to look. See? That’s a problem.
You’ve changed your system without giving any thought to what the consequences might be. You still expect it to work the way it came out of the box. That was the whole point. So you broke it without even realizing it.
In contrast, when you have a system custom made for you, each part can be tailored the way you want it. It takes more time to set up and refine but it’s more flexible and effective.
A good system will have some automation because it needs to be saving you time, but it needs to be administered manually too. That’s a good thing. Because you need to pay attention to how the parts are working together, you’ll catch things before they break and mess you up.
Forget about color coding. Use colored folders if they make you happy, but don’t assign them to categories. Instead, put your attention on the scheme of your filing system. Having financial stuff together, medical stuff together, that kind of thing.
Don’t make it too narrow and specific. Keep it a bit loose so you can pop medical documents into the medical folder and not have to hunt down a specific medical folder out of 20.