MONTHLY CHECKLIST SERIES
Even in the digital age, paper documents support many important tasks. Files are reference materials and records, and the reason for filing is to allow access to information. Here are a few pointers on managing the paper that you have to keep handy.
Have a simple but complete filing system—one that makes sense to you.
Always alphabetize. No matter what the structure of your filing system is, alphabetize within it. It will save you time.
Always color code for easy, quick identification. Each category—such as audit, consulting or tax—should have its own color, either by file folder or tab color.
Apply color coding even for a few files. As the number of files grows, the color system will make it easier to determine where a new file will go. Add new colors for new categories.
Duplicating a document for filing in two different places creates more work, more bulk and is seldom useful. Resist.
Place the most recent documents in the front of the file folder. That keeps the most recent information on top, and the oldest documents will be in the back when it’s time to purge files.
Sometimes deciding where to file a document is tricky. Always ask yourself, “Where would I look for this if I needed it?” Never ask, “Where should I put this?”
Label computer disks so you don’t have to load each one to identify what’s on it. Always color code to coordinate with paper files.
File each document as you finish with it or file all at the end of the day. Don’t let filing pile up.
Staple together documents on the same subject with the most current information on top. Don’t use paperclips—they can come off or catch other papers in a file.
Mark a discard date if you know when a document will become obsolete. Later, you’ll know that you can throw it away without having to take the time to read it.Source: Business Organizing Solutions, www.pilesofiles.com .