In order to accomplish anything at work, you need to take action. This seems like an obvious concept, but without an organized system to identify and store actionable items it is very easy to become unproductive.
Actionable items are physical steps, such as making a phone call, drafting a memo, composing an email, or walking down the hall to speak to someone face-to-face, that are needed to move projects forward. All projects are accomplished through a series of distinct physical action steps. As a knowledge worker, one of your duties is to keep track of the next action needed to move projects to completion. Many people try to keep their actionable items in their inbox or stored in their head, both of which are routes that lead to dysfunction.
The Action folder is a fundamental tool to accomplish this task. Having everything that is actionable in one place creates a simple menu of items that can be worked on whenever time allows. It creates efficiency because there is no longer a need to search around your work space for actionable items. The clarity of mind that comes from knowing where all your actions are stored is priceless.
Read David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done (2015 edition), Chapter 7 to learn all the best practices for creating and maintaining action folders.