Let’s face it, filing isn’t everyone’s favourite job. So to motivate yourself to create your ideal filing system, focus on the benefits it’s going to bring you.
- A good filing system gets rid of all those mushrooming piles of paper that have a tendency to take over desks and any other horizontal surface.
- Being able to find what you’re looking for quickly and easily frees up your time – and who doesn’t need more time?
- Peace of mind. Clearing away physical clutter is a great way to give yourself some mental breathing space too.
What to file?
What should you file – and just as important – what shouldn’t you file? The things we file fall into three main categories:
- Important records:. birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports and wills
- Legal documents:. mortgage details, bank statements and income tax records
- Reference documents: Magazines, recipes, school notices, local tradesmen’s details, takeaway menus ,travel plans, etc.
The first two categories are straightforward – these are all things that definitely need filing.
The third category is more tricky. Before you put anything into this category, ask yourself “Why am I keeping this?” If the information you’re keeping is easily available elsewhere, e.g. on the internet, then you probably don’t need to file it. Is the info related to a current or future project? How will you retrieve this information?
How to file?
The key to a great filing system is having the right file headings. It’s worth taking the time to come up with headings that work for you. Make a list of all the different types of documents you want to file. Then work out which of the three filing categories (important records, legal documents or reference documents) each type falls into. This will help you clarify which items need to be filed, and which don’t.
Once you know what you’re going to be filing, pick headings that clearly describe what’s in the file, so there’s no confusion about what goes where. Miscellaneous is a bad heading as its very tempting to file everything into this file and so this is an important file to sub divide into general but specific headings. Choose specific headings like House Dreams which could take ideas that include paint samples, bathroom ideas. Entertainment which could include activities you’d like to try, take away menus, restaurants
Where to file?
Don’t hide your filing system away. If you have to spend time digging for files under the bed or in the garage, you’ll never file anything. Give your filing system its own space, where you can get to it quickly and easily. Think about the look of this filing system, if it is in your working space, what should it look like?
When to file?
Don’t let your filing build up into a huge, daunting pile. Set aside a definite time, perhaps ten minutes each evening or on the weekend, and put your new efficient filing system to use. Have a bin next you your filing system to catch the papers that don’t fit your categories so you are not tempted to keep everything. Once you start to see the benefits, you’ll be hooked on filing!
If you need help setting up a filing system that works for you, Simply Organised Solutions can help. Contact Fiona on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.simplyorganisedsolutions.co.za to see our wide range of organising services.