· Ask yourself: “Why am I keeping this piece of paper?”
- When will you need it? What will prompt you to retrieve it? Name and file the document accordingly.
- Can you easily get this information later somewhere else? If yes, don’t save it.
- How often will you use this document? Keep frequently-used files closest to your desk.
· Plan the names of your file folders:
- Make a master list of main categories and subcategories, using an outline or mind map format.
- Use action words that mean something to you. For example, instead of “Bills” use “Bills to Pay”; instead of “Articles” use “Articles I wrote,” “Articles I’m thinking of writing,” and “Article ideas.”
- Use groups to keep like records together. For example, under a group like “Financial” you’d keep files to do with your current income and expenses such as “Bank statements,” “Charity,” “Taxes,” and “Utilities.”
- Alphabetize the files within each group.
- Be consistent. If you use “Insurance, Health” then use “Insurance, Life,” “Insurance, Homeowners,” and “Insurance, Auto.”
· Keep frequently-used files at arm’s reach in a desktop file bin or in the file drawer of your desk.
· For hanging file folders, insert the plastic tab in the front of the folder to make it easy to see and easy to file.
· Group like files together (client files, financial files, project files).
· Allow 2 inches for expansion in each drawer. When a drawer gets too full, weed out old papers for archiving or shredding.
· Don’t file what you don’t need:
- Use staples instead of paper clips.
- Unfold papers before filing.
- Remove envelopes unless they’re important.
· Neatly fold or trim large items. To fold legal size documents for a letter size file folder, fold over 2-3 pages at a time at the bottom.
· File immediately whatever you can. If you don’t file an item right away, write in the upper right corner where you’re going to file it.
· As you read mail: (1) Toss, (2) File immediately, (3) Write the name of the file folder in the upper right, (4) Add to your “To Do” list, or (5) Take action immediately.
Copyright © 2006 Balanced Spaces, LLC. All rights reserved.
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