Tag Archive: filing

Of all the things that will kill your productivity, having and trying to operate in a disorganized space is at the top of the list.  When your environment doesn’t support you, it contributes to wasting your time.  With a disorganized space you spend more time looking for things, trying to find things in your office, in your files and on your computer.

Operating in such a space not only costs you your precious time and money, but it causes stress, not to mention the fact that it can be distracting to work in a disorganized, cluttered space.  Not only is it necessary for a space to be organized, but it must also have the right furniture, files, supplies and systems to support you.  For instance, if your desk doesn’t provide you with the features that you need, then it’s not supporting you in your day-to-day work and you need to find one that’s more appropriate.  Your desk should have enough surface space to house your computer, desk top trays, etc and the drawer space for  supplies that you need on a day-to-day basis.

With paper being the number one culprit, you’ve got to have a way to contain and manage it, so you’ll need a solid filing system.  Your filing cabinets should have ample space for the files that you have and your filing system should consists of three types of files: reference, action and archive along with a plan for regular purging and archiving.

Anything else that you have in your office should support you in your daily tasks, so seriously think about what you’re going to add before you actually do so.  Consider the space available in addition to whether or not the item is going  to serve you.  Choose items that are functional.  Besides the functional items in your office, add decor that gives it a bit of spice and that’s pleasing to your eye.

To help keep the paper tiger away, set up a solid filing system so that every piece of paper has a home.  Your paper filing system should have three categories: reference, action and archive.  Determine which files fit each category and set up your system accordingly.  If your paper has a home, you’ll spend a lot less time looking for it and more time getting things done.

Chances are that if your paper files aren’t orderly, your computer files aren’t either.  How many times have you created a document, printed or emailed it off and then couldn’t remember where you saved it, what file name you gave it and couldn’t find it because you don’t have a filing system for your hard drive?

To avoid wasting your precious time looking for those files, set your electronic files up so that you can easily locate them.  Your electronic filing system should look just like your paper system.  For example, if you’re an entrepreneur, you have electronic client documents, so you might set up one folder for each client and other folders for things like marketing, forms, standard operating procedures, proposals, etc.   One other key thing to do is to name your documents so that you know what they are just by looking at the name instead of having to open them to see what they are.  For instance if you created a proposal for a client, you might name it “Third Eye Group Proposal”.  If you get into the habit of naming documents appropriately, you will save yourself a lot of time when you need to find them again.

Set regular times to purge and archive your paper and computer files so that your cabinets and your hard drive don’t get cluttered.  Usually once a year works very well.  Don’t forget to purge your archives as well.  Purging and archiving are part of your filing system, so don’t neglect to do it!

Once you have your list of what systems are working and which aren’t working, you can refine those that can work with a few changes and create the new systems that are missing.

Typically, a business needs systems for customer sales, whether you sell products or services; an inventory system, payroll system, and as previously mentioned, an accounting system.  Think about the essence of what you do and how you do it as well as your intentions as you begin to create the systems that your business needs.  For example, when creating your customer system, think about the experience you want them to have and the tools and processes that need to be in place for that experience to be possible.

A good filing system has action, reference and archived files as well as a process for reviewing, purging and archiving files.  That maintenance is what will keep you from wasting the typical 1.5 to 2 hours each day that most people spend looking for things when you should be working.

Your business should have a payroll system even if you are only paying yourself, and let’s not forget a system and process for your exit from your business.  What should happen when you retire?  Are you selling the business, shutting it down or passing it on to a child or other family member?  Remember, even the human body has a process for shutting down when it’s time for transition.

Each one of these systems is an integral part of running a successful business.  Having them in place can make or break you.  At the beginning of the New Year everyone makes resolutions.  It’s a really easy thing to do; almost too easy.  You will find everyone popping up with things that they resolve to do in the year ahead.  If you’re a business owner and you don’t have established systems and processes in place, I strongly encourage you to seize the moment and take action now.  It’s time to get your business in gear for the New Year and have all systems GO!

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