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Get Organized - Ideas to Improve Your Filing System

January 10 2012

January is National "Get Organized" Month!

How much time do we spend looking for information?

  • Executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents. Business FastCompany Magazine, 8-04-04
  • An enterprise employing 1,000 knowledge workers wastes $48,000 per week, or nearly $2.5M per year, due to an inability to locate and retrieve information - Business IDC report, 8-01

Take a look at your list of folders, whether it is your email folders or your 'My Documents'. Do you have a long list of folders that are arranged alphabetically? When you search for a document, file, or folder do you have to remember the exact name of the file and then scan through the alphabet? Ever forget the name of the file you are looking for? What then? Here are a few tips to get you more organized so that you can save time and energy:


    • First purge! Yes, get rid of files, folders, and documents you are not going to need anymore. Old files and folders slow you and your computer down. Not sure what to do with an item? Create a 2011 subfolder and store unsure or old items there. Moving unnecessary items out of your current filing system will help you locate the important information much sooner. Now, schedule another purging session 3 months from today!
 

    • Instead of having all of your folders, files, and documents in a huge long alphabetical list try breaking this list up into chunks. Create a few Master Folders. Create a Folder in which you can store all of your personal/family documents and information. Once you’ve created the folder now click and drag all non-business related items into your new folder. Image how many documents just ‘disappeared’ from your long list and how much easier it is going to be finding a file when you don’t have to scan through distracting personal items? (Keep purging.)


   • All you have left in your now shorter, more compact list are business related items. Try and create another Master Folder, how about an ‘Administrative’ folder? Now drag and drop all administrative items into your new folder. Repeat this process until you have just a hand full of Master Folders in which your items are stored. (Keep purging.)


   • Open up each of your new Master Folders and create subfolders. In your new ‘personal’ folder you might have items that related to ‘you’ (create a new folder), your ‘spouse’ (new folder), your ‘children’ (new folder) and so on. Now drag and drop items from your long list of personal items into your new subfolders. Now repeat this process with the other Master Folders you’ve created and you are well on your way to developing a more efficient filing system.


Now each time you file a document, consider your new foldering structure. Store the item in the most logical Master/subfolder. If you adhere to this system you will be able to rely on the same logic when you go to FIND the information. Keep at it and you’ll master your new filing system and you’ll be Creating Space and finding you have more time to think.

There are many more tips and tricks to developing a phenomenal filing system, if you’re interested in learning more click here.

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