Posts Tagged With: Filing

Week 7 – Information Management: Strategies – 6 Tips To Turn Your Filing System Into A “Finding” System (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Filing and Organization – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 8, 2010

By Clare Kumar

For incoming information that makes it past “delete”, systems are required to hold our active or “do” items and those we designate for reference. Filing systems are the most commonly used but unless set up effectively can quickly become cumbersome space hogs full of papers that are never referred to.

Follow these 6 tips to turn an ineffective filing system into an easy-to-use ‘finding’ system.

1. Create a simple filing hierarchy to store like items together

Rather than filling in categories labeled from A-Z, create categories based on the type of information you need to find together. Create subcategories as required. This will make it faster to find files and eliminate some of the guesswork if you forget exactly what you named the file.

Consider, for example, vehicle records you keep as part of your expenses. If you use an A-Z system, you might choose to file information related to the car under automobile, car, vehicle, or by the brand of car. Instead, create a category or folder called ‘Expenses’ and include the car file within in to make it easier to find.

Within each category, store files alphabetically or chronologically depending upon how you need to find them.

2. Use the same hierarchy for paper and computer files

Mirror the system in both paper and electronic environments so you don’t lose time adjusting between the two.

3. Develop a consistent naming methodology

It is important to be judicious and consistent when naming files and folders. If chronology is important, consider using the date in the beginning of the file name for computer files. Use the yyyy_mm_dd format and sort by date to have them appear in order.

Take time to include information needed to identify the file in the file name. This is especially important if you have multiple files with similar names.

4. Be selective about what you keep

The more files you keep, the more storage space they take up and the more energy is required to maintain and sort through them. If you’re not required to keep iterative work, delete draft versions and keep only the final product. Once per quarter edit the contents of your filing system and remove unneeded documents.

5. Keep active files easy to reach

Make sure your active folders are easy to access. You may choose to use desktop file holders to keep active paper files tidy, insight, and therefore top of mind.

Temporarily storing often-used folders on the computer desktop or at the top of the hierarchy can make them quicker to access.

Be sure to transfer active files and folders to their long-term home once a task or project is completed.

6. Make the physical filing system easy to use

Naming computer files is part of the saving process. When saving paper documents however you need to have a physical folder handy and a way to label it. Keep filing supplies well-stocked and at the ready so papers can be filed without delay.

If you are using file folders, use a label maker and sturdy hanging file folder labels for clear definition and easy recognition of major categories. For individual files, print clearly using a dark marker on a white label to make the title stand out, especially on coloured folders. If you use binders, make sure of the label holder on the spine to label the binder and indexes inside to keep your files sorted.

Coming up next in the series: Information Management Strategies – Ready Reference Material

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 7 – Information Management: Strategies – Reference Material At The Ready (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organization – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

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By Clare Kumar

Filing works well for storing some types of information but not others. Smaller papers can get lost, files can easily get out of order and they may not stand up to heavy use.

Consider including binder systems and magazine holders to provide additional options for your paper storage. Here are a few reasons to consider each:

1. Binder Systems

To set up a successful binder system, keep good quality supplies handy. These include a reliable 3-hole punch, index tabs, sheet protectors, binders in a variety of sizes and labeling material. Select a binder system for:

a) Durability

More durable than folders, good quality binders hold up to heavy usage. They are ideal when information is to be referred to often or by multiple users.

b) Storing and protecting random-sized papers

In combination with sheet protectors or pockets, binders offer more secure storage for smaller papers. Sheet protectors preserve documents and eliminate the need for a three-hole punch. Special pockets can be used to store business or credit cards.

c) Organizing information

Information in binders can be further divided for quick recognition with index tabs. Widths vary to handle regular hole-punched paper or wider sheet protectors. Consider how quickly you can label contents – especially if making multiple copies, and how durable the tabs are if they will be used regularly.

d) Storing information on bookshelves

If filing space is limited, bookshelves become ideal repositories through the use of binders. Have a variety of sizes on hand to suit the material being stored. Bigger is not always better. Especially if the binder will be referred to often, choose a size that makes it manageable to use. Men’s hands are generally bigger than women’s, so keep users in mind.

e) Making presentations

Binder and sheet protector systems work well if you need to present information to a small group of people. Built-in easels prop the binder up for easy display.

2. Magazine Holders

Often overlooked in offices, magazine holders are ideal for storing a variety of information in seconds. For an uncluttered look in an open space, keep the taller side of the holder facing out. For easy access or behind closed doors, use them with the shorter side facing out so you can easily pluck out an item. In both cases, label the exterior side for easy reference.

For more than just magazines or catalogues, consider using magazine holders for:

a) Odd-sized documents

Manuals for electronics and software can be kept together and out of sight in a magazine holder.

I’ve often seen piles of trade show material cluttering up offices as people wait for just the right time to review the material. Instead, use a magazine holder to corral all the flyers and brochures in one place. When you’re ready you can conveniently take the material to a comfortable spot to read and sort it.

b) Stationery

Magazine holders are ideal for group paper office supplies. Use them to keep presentation folders, envelopes and paper pads easy to access and free from damage.

c) Project files

Magazine holders are the quickest way to group like pieces of information. They can be used to organize files and materials by project or client.

Coming up next in the series: More Information Management Strategies and Time Saving Tools

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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