4 Steps to Organize Your Paperwork

<img style="margin: 5px; width: 275px; height: 200px; float: right;" alt="iStock_000008715159XSmall.jpg" src="” />Paper has amazing properties. It is made from wood, yet, it acts like a magnet. Maybe, that is not true in scientific terms, but place a paper on a desk or the on floor and see what happens. Magically, other papers will gravitate toward the pile and pretty soon, if a person is not diligent, he will have a mountain (or at least a good start of one.)

The results of those mountains can be loss of efficiency and frustration. A proactive strategy of dealing with paperwork will go a long way help this common problem to many.

The 4-step process below can be a fresh start to getting and keeping a manageable paperwork system.

Gather
Start by taking a chunk of time that can be dedicated to sifting through existing unfiled paperwork. If there are a lot of papers, it may take a series of sessions to completely get organized. Remember to retrieve any wayward, uncategorized paperwork that is in drawers or cabinets. Prepare your sorting space with a bin for recycling, a shredder and file folders or boxes to place the separated items. 

Separate and Filing System
The next two steps, separating and the filing system, can be a chicken and an egg dilemma.

When you begin separating the piles, ideally you will have an idea of the categories of file folders you want to have. In that case, you could pre-make the folders, and file the papers as you sort them.

If, however, you are not sure of the categories as you begin, then, sort the papers into two piles ~  keep and recycle.  Once you are down to just the keeper items, take a look through the pile. Write down the categories that come to mind when you are examining what you have kept. Create file folders for those categories and start filing the papers from the keeper pile into the folders.

When setting up your filing system, make sure that the system will be easy to use. If it is difficult and complex, you won’t use it, which would defeat the purpose.

One downfall people commonly have in regard to a filing system is to forget what categories they made when they first created the system. They then unwittingly create a duplicate files for the same topic. To alleviate this issue, make an index of the categories and subcategories as a reference.

Maintain
Now your desk is clear. The files are put in their proper place. You know the names of your files and can find them easily. You’re set.

The trick now is to keep ahead of it. Here are some suggestions to keep the mountains from getting a foothold again.

Go through your mail daily. Immediately pitch any junk mail without opening it and shred any credit card offers to protect your identity.

As for any other paperwork, either file the item immediately after use or designate a time on a daily or weekly basis to file papers. Find a timeframe that fits well with your workflow and stick to it.

So, there you have it. Remember to turn to the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency for Trusted Advice ~ Reliable Solutions to your insurance and daily life dilemmas.