Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Filing made simple, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Let's explore how to simplify and speed up the process of basic paper filing. First, when filing non-financial documents use a simple alphabetical system. Set up hanging file folders and label each file folder alphabetically. You can usually purchase hanging file folders in groups of 25. One short of the full alphabet. So if you find yourself a folder short combine the letters X and Y which brings you to a total of 25 file hanging folders.
Whenever you have some new document that you need to file pull out a manila folder write on the manila folder what you're going to put in there and then put that piece of paper in the folder. Use a manila folder rather than putting items directly into the hanging file folder. This will make it easier to retrieve the items in the future. So let's take an example with this piece of paper. This is a poem that I really enjoy. This is an inspirational quote. I might want to copy this and share it in a meeting or just refer back to it.
Where do I file this piece of paper? Well, I simply file it under the first letter that comes to mind. So if I think of P for poems then I pull out a manila folder write poems on it stick the poem in there and then put it under P for poems. Now perhaps Q might come to your mind for quotes so you put it under Q for quotes. What letter you choose doesn't really matter. And that's part of the simplicity of this system.
Just write down the first thing that comes to mind stick the papers in and then put the manila folder into the hanging file folder. This system works very well for any miscellaneous type of document that you have. But what if we have a client? If it's just a few putting them in the main filing system is enough. But if you have many many clients then you may need a set of alphabetical files reserved for that category. Clients.
Or vendors. Or any other category where you have large number of one particular type of file. Then, using the client example whenever you file a client folder away you put it in there according to alphabetical order. So for instance here is a document from the Explorer California Company. So I'll pull out a manila folder I already had created for them in my client files under E.
I'll stick the document in that manila folder put it back and I'm done. What about financial documents, though? If you work in a larger company there probably already is a well established accounting filing system. So just use what's in place. For an individual working out of a home office or a small business create a set of 12 file folders. One for each month of the year. Then whenever you receive a statement or receipt any financial document put it into the month in which it was dated.
If there wasn't a date file it within the month you received it. This simple system works well for home-based businesses service professionals or just personal finance. To be safe you'll want to keep those records for at least seven years. So create a new set of 12 month folders for each new year. Using a simple system like this will make it fast as possible to file documents and simple to find them again when needed.
Now let's discuss how to handle filing documents on your computer.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains