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In her Motion to Organize weekly column, lawyer Jennifer Gumbel talks organization, productivity, and more.

Tabs are nerdy. I associate using tabs with hyper-organized people. The kind that have binders for everything. The Leslie Knopes of the world. The kind of people who bullet journal to let off steam. And, while I enjoy office supplies and organization, I am not that far gone and I didn’t always use tabs.

But tabs are way more useful than I gave them credit for. The reason is obvious. A stack of paper becomes something you can visually break down and label. Instead of a mass of information that somewhere, contains what you need at any given time, your data is quickly and easily located. Whether you use a ring binder or a folder system, tabs can help organize data and keep it organized as you add to it. A color-coded, ROYGBIV system isn’t half bad either.

Tabs work great for office management, like separating outstanding and paid bills by vendor. If you’re researching a complicated topic, tabs can help you locate needles in the haystack and give you a constant visual reminder how a complicated topic breaks down. I find them indispensable for organizing court filings. That way, I can see and confirm what the court has at a glance. And, on those rare occasions I’m in front of a judge, I can immediately flip to what they’re referring.

Tabs might be nerdy, but sometimes, they can be indispensable.

Jennifer Gumbel

Jennifer Gumbel is an estate planning and probate lawyer in Austin, Minnesota. She takes her morbid nerd-dom to another level by talking about how to organize your after life, with the website An Organized (after)Life and the podcast, An Organized (after)Life, which you can find on the website, Spreaker and ITunes. You can also find her on Instagram with pics on death organizing and small town Minnesota life at the handle @jengumbel.

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