Categories, subjects, topics, and tags are all terms used in file organizing discussion. Unfortunately, they are all used interchangeably, and they shouldn’t be. There’s a hierarchy, and the order is essential.
Here’s how the terms differ
- A category is a broad title for a group of subjects. Categories are basic and few. The JOYS® categories highlighted above—Everyday, Wealth, Wellness, Comforts, and Experiences— contain all the subjects of life. One additional category—Essentials collects the most vital information from the five basic categories.
- A subject is a title for a group of topics. Subjects are assigned to a category to organize your files in more detail. For example, School, Family, and Work are subjects within my Everyday category. Organizing papers by subject within categories make specific papers more straightforward to find and maintain.
- Typically, a topic highlights a person, business, thing, activity, or location. For example, Pay Stubs, Expenses, and Jobs are topics within the subject of Work.
- In essence, a tag is all of the above and more. Tags are a blessing and a curse because they leave you with so many choices.