If you have a lot of files and documents, it can be difficult to organize them, but it doesn’t need to be painful.If you plan ahead and decide on a file system, you will be able to find more important documents more quickly.You need to stick to a consistent system once you have your files in order.
Step 1: There are file categories.
If you want to organize your files, you need to decide what major categories you will use.The general system is the same for different kinds of offices.You need to figure out a way to sort your files.If you need to organize client files in a law office, you can sort them by case types.
Step 2: There are subcategories to set up.
You can develop a list of subcategories within each category.The general category and subcategory are the two terms that can be used to define a piece of paper.If you are setting up a filing system for financial matters, you might have a general category of outgoing payments, and subcategories of vendors, suppliers, services, professionals and administrative costs.
Step 3: You can use a color-coding system.
It can be an effective way to organize your files.Determine the number of different categories you will have in your system, and then use that many different colored folders.You can use regular folders and get colored stickers instead of using folders that are completely colored.You can put the stickers on the top tab or the edge of the folder for more visibility.
Step 4: The files need to be labeled.
There is a clear place for each file in your office.The tab of each folder should have a label written on it.The general category should be followed by the specific subcategory on the individual folder label.The labels on each file should be printed as neatly and consistently as possible.If you buy a software package that will allow you to format labels, you can use your computer to type and print them.The style and size of your labels should be the same on your computer.If you are printing by hand, make sure to be neat and consistent.
Step 5: The files should be sorted chronologically.
Put your folders in order when your filing system is set up.The general folders should be sorted.The subcategories should be sorted according to their location within the general folder.You can sort information by date rather than by a topic label.If that is the case, you will need to decide if it’s better to sort your files with the newest items in front and move to the oldest, or vice versa.
Step 6: There should be at least several inches of space in each drawer.
You need to leave room for the files to grow when you are setting up your filing system.You will receive more papers as time goes by.You should leave room for your files to expand.In order to make room, you will have to move entire sections or drawers.
Step 7: All the materials need to be filed.
Pull the papers together if you are starting with a collection of papers that are disorganized.Pick a place and collect everything in one pile.You will be able to organize.
Step 8: There are two groups for action and filing.
It’s a good idea to make a folder or pile for everything that needs immediate action.You should not file these papers if you don’t remember to do the work.To be addressed soon, set this folder aside.Proceed with the filing of the remaining papers.The action file needs to be organized.The papers that need to be dealt with immediately should be sorted into smaller groups.Call, write, deliver, and pay are subcategories.
Step 9: Pick up the paper again.
As you review the loose papers that you are filing, make decisions about them.Pick up the paper, read over it, decide which category and subcategory it belongs to, and then put it away.If you work this way, you can save time by dealing with each item only once.You should decide if you need to keep it as you review it.If the paper has already been dealt with and you don’t need to keep it as a record, then discard it.
Step 10: Unfold each item.
Most of the papers you have will be in envelopes and folded.Remove the papers from the envelopes and then open them.If you file each paper in this way, your folders will fit uniformly in the file drawer and you won’t have to worry about bulging where the folded papers stack up.Do you need to keep any envelopes?The envelopes can be thrown out in most cases.If you believe you need proof of delivery or a postmark, you should staple the envelope to the papers and keep them together.Multiple papers should be stapled together.Things will not get lost or separated.They fit more uniformly in the files and they don’t have the problem of slipping off, which is why they’re better than paper clips.
Step 11: You can use a to file basket.
When new paperwork is created, you may not be able to file it immediately.When you can, place everything that needs to be filed in a single place.A basket on your desk is a good place to put the papers aside.
Step 12: Make sure you have a consistent time to file.
You can work on filing new papers if you schedule a consistent time each day or week.You are more likely to keep up with it if you make filing a regular part of your routine.You could set aside the last half hour of each day to file the day’s papers.If you don’t have enough time, you can try to do your filing twice a day, just before you go to lunch and then after you leave for the day.Consistency and repetition are the keys to success.
Step 13: Make sure that people with access to the files are aware of the system.
You should be able to maintain the order that you have created if you are the only person using your files.If other people need to use the papers in your files, you should make sure that they understand the system that you have created.If papers get misfiled and put into incorrect folders, having a filing system in place is not helpful.If you offer to get anything that someone else in your office might need, and then ask them to return everything to you, it may be more efficient and effective.You can be sure that everything gets refiled correctly.
Step 14: Important documents should be kept in a safe place.
Special materials may need to be held in different locations.Some papers may need to be kept in a fireproof lockbox.It is possible that you need to keep some materials off-site, in a bank safety deposit box, or at your lawyer’s office.
Step 15: Your files should be reviewed regularly.
You should set aside some time to review your files at least once a year.The purpose of this review is to determine if there are any papers that can be moved to an off-site storage facility.You should discard anything that is never going to be needed again.You should send it to storage if it’s something that you don’t expect to use often and need to keep as a record.