Blog: Paper And Information Management
Filing So You Can Find it Again
According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, it costs $120 in labor to track down a misplaced document or $250 in labor to recreate it. Filing systems that work with the way you work are critical to cost management. The following tips will aid you in setting up systems to meet your needs.
File Only What You Need
Many of us (yes - I'm guilty sometimes) put things in files because it is easier to file it away than to make a decision. Recognize that your files are not dumping grounds. Do not put things in your files without first contemplating whether or not you can get rid of them.
Create a File Index
A file index is one of the most important items that you can have to help you keep control of your ever growing pile of papers! List the location of each category and folder. That way, when you need to find your documents, you will have an easier time locating what you need. I use the Paper Tiger for my file management both at home and at work. I love it! http://www.calahansolutions.com/s_prod_pepertiger.htm
Keep Fingertip Files at Your Desk
Fingertip files are those that you refer to all the time -- phone lists, school directories, catalogs. They can be built into a great action system. What? You don't have an action system? See my next point.
Reduce the Piles into Files
If you keep your files in piles on your desk because you need to see them, try using a rolling file cart. This keeps piles off your desk but in a place where you can see them at all times.
Or maybe you have those piles on your desk because you are afraid that you will forget to do something. Then, make an action system that will work for the way you work! Check out http://www.calahansolutions.com/s_prod_swiftfile.htm for info on how to make your own action filing system.
Consider Off-Site Storage
If you are low on space, consider allowing a document storage company to store your old records in an off-site facility, or you could relocate your files to a storage facility.
Avoid Paper Clips
Clip multiple-page documents together with staples or a binder clips, but avoid paper clips because they have a tendency to get caught on other pages.
Remember You Are Ever Changing, So Your Filing System Should Be Too
Your filing system should be a dynamic and everchanging creature. Don't be afraid to get rid of a category if you don't use it anymore -- or to add a new one if you need it. Consolidate folders that seem to go together under one larger heading, and split up categories into smaller pieces if your folders get too stuffed. Once a year you should set aside time to purge the old and obsolete information from your files. If you follow these instructions, your filing system will serve you well for the rest of your life.
Use Color Coding for Your Files
Consider useing a different color folder or tab for each section of files ex: all "financial" folders are green or have a green label. This makes it easier to find the file you need quickly and makes it easier to put folders back in the right place. You will now be able to put your hands on the folder you want almost instantly and run down the row of major categories until you find the right one.
Don't Overstuff Filing Cabinets
There's nothing worse than having to file papers in a file cabinet that is overloaded! Leave enough room in file drawers so you're not using all your energy to get a piece of paper in or out.
That is it for now! I suggest that you only try to implement a few of these things rather than a bunch of them at once. Pick one or two that really speak to you, make them a habit and then add a few more.
To your success!
posted on: 12/8/2007 10:30:00 AM by Stephanie Calahan
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Paper And Information Management
by Stephanie Calahan
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Stephanie L. H. Calahan is a Productivity and Organization Consultant, Coach, Speaker, Author. She is also the founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. – Productive & Organized, We'll Help You Find Your Way a premier productivity consulting firm, serving a national and local clients in corporate settings, home-based businesses, and residential environments. Her organizing expertise, Computer Science and HR backgrounds give her a unique perspective on what works at work.
My Favorite Websites for Business & Office
- The Publicity Hound
Are you new to the business world and don't know where to start to get your business the recognition it needs and deserves? Then this site is for you! Joan Stewart aka the Publicity Hound shares all kinds of fabulous information about getting free publicity. Sign up for her free tutorial and learn ways to get noticed now!
- Paper Tiger Productivity Institute
Get resources for organizing your business!
- The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords
Google has a system that makes it possible, for the first time in the history of the world, to deposit five bucks, write a couple of ads, and instantly get access to over 100 million people - in less than 10 minutes. It's called Google AdWords and it's hot. In fact it may be the first and best thing to do to get traffic to your site. But it's not always as easy as I just made it sound - AdWords has some nuances, and most people have a rough time at first. Well my colleague Perry Marshall has written a very helpful e-course called "5 days to success with Google AdWords" and there's no charge for it.
- The Definitive Guide to Writing & Promoting White Papers
If you sell any kind of complex service, technology or sophisticated product, a White Paper is the best way to educate your customers about that technology. You can use a white paper to build your credibility, get free exposure in the press, attract new customers, and drive new technology into change-resistant, conservative markets. Most white papers are either too technical (boring) or too commercial (thin and cheesy) - but Perry Marshall has written a guide that shows you how to strike the perfect balance. But what's most important of all, though, is promoting and publicizing your white paper - because the best white paper in the world is no good unless somebody reads it!
- Guerilla Marketing
Most sales people spend all day dialing for dollars, chasing prospects who are mentally if not physically backing away from them, and they waste most of their time chasing deals instead of closing them. At the same time, most companies spend all kinds of money on advertising and don't get nearly enough bang for their buck. Perry Marshall's "Guerilla Marketing for Hi-Tech Sales People" is an information-packed audio CD that discusses 21 principles that you can use to eliminate cold prospecting and wasted advertising dollars in today's fiercely competitive B2B marketplace.
My Favorite Organizing Tools
- EasyReach Find & Workspace - ask for a 30 day free trial
EasyReach Find & Workspace are the ultimate in digital organization. Spend less time looking for information and more time working with it.
- Paper Tiger Software
The Paper Tiger software is a powerful filing system that uses the power of your computer to help you get organized and stay organized. Find anything in 5 seconds! We use it both at home and at work.
- NeatReceipts Scanalizer
I LOVE this paper organizer! Get control over your loose receipts, business cards, personal taxes, home office taxes, expense reports, business documents and personal documents. It is amazing how it can read off of the papers it scans.
Get control of your desk with the SwiftFile Desktop filling system. They can be ordered with or without the matching file box. This is the Best Action Filing System I have seen.
- Send Out Cards - Try their free guest account
This is one of the best tools I have ever used for contacts, reminders and physical cards too! Go to the site and check out their free guest account. Better to see it for yourself than for me to try to tell you.
My Favorite Websites for the Home
- Mrs. A's Coupon Organizer
Mrs. A's has done it again. They developed a great coupon organizer that allows you to find things quickly and actually USE the coupons you cut out.
Introducing BOX4BLOX ™... the Simple Toy Storage Organizer for LEGO ® That Gets Rid of That "Lego Disaster Zone" From the Floor ONCE AND FOR ALL!
- Send Out Cards - try their free guest account!
This system lets you type a message then they print it in your handwriting, stuff it, stamp it and mail it when you tell them to. All for LESS than what you would pay to buy a card at a store.
My Favorite Goal Setting Tools
- My Goal Manager
MyGoalManager.com's Online System takes Goal Setting to whole new level! If you like online tools, this one is fantastic.
- My Motivator
My Motivator is a great online service that helps you identify your goals and then stay on track with those goals with audio to learn from and reminders that are sent to you.
My Favorite Books on Paper & Information
- Taming the Paper Tiger at Home
Strange as it may sound, having the right information at the right time can help you save money or have a good time. Barbara Hemphill tells you how to tame the "paper tiger" with quick, practical solutions to managing every piece of paper that comes into your house. She'll show you how to decide what to keep, what to toss, where to keep it—and most important—how to find it exactly when you need it, so you make room for your life!
- Taming the Paper Tiger at Work
Despite the promise of the paperless office, most of us are mired in the stuff—and deluged with electronic information as well. The use of computers, e-mail, the Internet, and faxes probably forces you to contend with more paper than ever. But setting up and efficient system to organize all the information is easier than you might think. Barbara Hemphill will show you how.
My Favorite Books on Time & Productivity Management
- 30 Hours A Day - Ultimate Time Management Program
How Much More Money Would You Make With An Extra 6 Extra Hours Of Productivity Every Day? Drop-dead Simple Tutoring Of Rapid Results Coach Dave Navarro Makes It Easier Than You Ever Thought It Could Be.
- Outsource And Delegate
How To Work Less And Make A Lot More Money!
- Successful Time Management
Successful Time Management. An Easy-to-read, Ebook That Will Have You Getting More Done, In Less Time, Than Ever Before. It Just Takes A Few Minutes Each Day To Put These Time Management Systems In To Place.
Our Web Sites
- Steph's Blog - ProductiveAndOrganized.net
- Company Site - CalahanSolutions.com
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- Stephanie's Bio