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Have you ever kept a client or your boss waiting on the phone while you've searched the piles of papers on your desk for an important document? If you have, then your boss or your client may not have a good opinion of you, because in a key encounter, you've let them down.
And 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 — you'd smiled, accessed a well-organized filing system, immediately found the document, and quickly given the answer!
Managing Time 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 — so it can be used for further analysis or report writing, or perhaps for creating a presentation.
All too often, though, we waste our own time and often the time of other people 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 of putting the data to use more difficult than it ought to be.
So we need to get more organized and efficient with our file management if we're going to get our work done in a timely manner. Managing Information Efficiently 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.
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, especially considering that you're usually under pressure with other things.
You can spend hours of precious time searching for documents that you've filed away somewhere, because it's easy to forget where you put it — or even to forget that you have the document in the first place.
So how can you go about simplifying your work? Get better at managing files. Effective File Management Effective filing boils down to this: Here are some tips to help manage your files: Avoid saving unnecessary documents — Don't make a habit of saving everything that finds its way to you.
Take a few seconds to glance through the content, and save a file only if it's relevant to your work activity. Having too many unnecessary documents adds to clutter and makes it harder to find things in the future. Be selective about what you keep!
Follow a consistent method for naming your files and folders — For instance, divide a main folder into subfolders for customers, vendors, and co-workers. What's more, you can even give a different appearance or look to different categories of folders — this can make it easy to tell them apart at first glance.
Store related documents together, whatever their type — For example, store reports, letters, presentation notes, spreadsheets, and graphics related to a particular project in a single folder — rather than having one folder for presentations for all projects, another folder for spreadsheets for all projects, and so forth.
This way, it's much quicker to find documents for a particular project. Separate ongoing work from completed work — Some people prefer to keep current or ongoing work on their desk until a job is completed.
Then, once it's done, they move it to the appropriate location, where files of the same category are stored. At periodic intervals for example, weekly or every two weeksmove files you're no longer working on to the folders where your completed work is stored.
Avoid overfilling folders — If you have a large number of files in one folder, or a large number of subfolders in a main folder, break them into smaller groups subfolders or sub-subfolders. Having said this, there is usually little point in creating a folder for fewer than about five documents.
Make digital copies of paper documents with a scanner — This is useful if you don't have much space to store paper documents, or if you want to archive documents without destroying them completely.
This won't be appropriate for all types of documents, for example, with legal contracts or documents with original signatures.
So use your best judgment here.
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Organize documents by dates — Write a date on the document. This will help you organize your documents into date-order, without having to open the folder and read through all documents.Find common forms you need for insurance claims, online account setup, beneficiary changes and more, ready to download and print for your convenience.
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Keep your documents in a safe place, but make sure that you can easily get hold of them when you need them. Keep track of the following. Automobile information. Bank account numbers.
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