Even the most paperless office or household requires some filing and that system should support you – not overtake your life. Hopefully, by reading Filing Basics Part One, you gained some control over your filing and at this point, it’s a good idea to check in and see what is working for you and what is not. The key to any well-organized [and successful] system is making it simple enough for you to maintain.
Below are some tips on how to sustain an organized paperwork system.
1. Set aside time once a week (15-20 minutes) to stay on top of your filing. Staying on top of your ‘to be filed’ pile will keep you from becoming overwhelmed. While you may feel like you are adding another task to your already-busy schedule, you are actually freeing up the other days. You can let the pile build up all week, knowing you will get through it all quickly. Set yourself a reminder and just get it done!
2. You may wish to use color to differentiate between subjects/topics. These should be sorted into broad categories, such as “Bills to Pay”, “Kids School Info”, “2014 Taxes”, “Smith Account”, etc. and use simple colors that please you and remind you of those categories. Store related documents together by category instead of by item. So for example, keep all presentations, research, notes on a particular subject together.
3. Be consistent – choose filing system that works for you and stick with it, whether it is chronological by date, alphabetical or numeric, etc. Again, keeping it simple will help with this, and will take away the need to think through the process. Filing should be routine and easy.
4. Utilize a digital filing system such as Neat or Evernote to manage all of your files and archives in one place. The Paper Tiger program cal also help keep track of paper files. Once you’ve uploaded a document, you can search by keyword and access it from anywhere. And remember – all menus, appliance manuals, recipes, instructions for items can be found online!
Not many people look forward to filing, but it’s a necessary part of life to maintain focus on what you ARE passionate about. Don’t let paper pile-ups get in the way of your goals or take up any more time than they should!