Red Deer Office Expert – Sandra Farquharson

Let’s file away 2018

If it’s your job to help people, how much of other people’s time are you wasting if you can’t find the documents and papers you need, when you need them? You owe it to yourself to file effectively, however boring this may seem. Imagine how much more impressive it would have been if – when asked – smiled and accessed a well-organized filing system, immediately found the document, and quickly given the answer!

Even in the age of email and the internet, we still deal with many paper documents and files. There’s a flurry of data pouring in from all directions that we need to process and, usually, store to retrieve later. We want to be able to lay our hands on the information we need – at the right moment, when we need it.

All too often, though, we waste our own time searching for data that’s actually sitting somewhere on our desk or in an office filing cabinet. This adds to our stress, and makes the task more difficult than it ought to be. When you receive a document from a co-worker, vendor, or customer, it’s tempting to “just put it away” in a pile on your desk or drawer for the time being. “Hmm. looks interesting, but I’ll take a closer look at this later, when I’ve got more time.” Sound familiar? After a while, many such documents build up, leading to a lot of clutter. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever find time to go back and get all of that information organized.

Effective filing boils down to this: store the information in folders – by category, and in a sequence that makes sense to you.

Here are some tips to help manage your files:

  • Avoid saving unnecessary documents
  • Follow a consistent method for naming your files and folders
  • Store related documents together, whatever their type
  • Separate ongoing work from completed work
  • Make digital copies of paper documents with a scanner

For any system to be useful and effective, it must also be convenient for you. To some extent, this depends on the nature of your business or the work that you do. So, although there’s no “one size fits all” solution to file management, you will likely profit by using some of these file management tips, and by customizing them in a way that best serves your own needs. Happy Filing!