From Cluttered Desk to Organized Files
|December 27, 2008||Posted by Business4Moms under Featured||
Whether you work at home or outside the home, you may find that your desk is a catch-all for everything. How do you go from a cluttered desk to organized files and keep your sanity at the same time? These ideas may be what you need to clean off your desktop once and for all.
First, start de-cluttering your desk by getting a box and putting everything from the top of your desk into the box. Go through each and every item in the box and decide what you are going to do with it. Options are:
Throw it away
Transfer information to a calendar
Move it to another room
or does it requires immediate action?
Your goal is to initially put things in one of the above categories.
For non-paper items, you want to decide if the items are important to keep on your desk or if they should be stored elsewhere. Remember, keep only those things on your desktop that are necessary (okay, and a few un-necessaries such as photos, etc. But still try to keep un-necessaries to a minimum.)
Get file folders and labels, and set aside some time. Setting up an organized filing system isn’t as hard as it may seem. Simple words you’ll remember are better than words you don’t use when trying to remember where you’ve put things. The goal is to file things as they arrive in a manner that will make them easy to access the next time you need them.
Here are a few things to consider when setting up a filing system:
* Are you losing monthly bills and having to pay late fees?
* Do you have all of your receipts ready for tax time?
* What medical information do you need in case of an emergency?
* Do you have a home inventory of your assets?
* Can you locate warranty information when needed?
If at all possible, reduce the amount of paper you have to file before you start organizing it into files. Get rid of as much as you can into the shredder or garbage can. If you can’t toss it, try giving it to someone else to handle if it pertains to them. The idea is to get it off your desk so it won’t clutter it up. Then file what’s left.
Sort your papers into broad categories to begin with – for instance, auto, finances, health, house, insurance, money, and personal. Next break the broad categories into more precise categories: Finances could break down into banking, investments, and retirement; auto could include repairs and warranties; insurance could be broken down into car, health, homeowner’s, and life. You get the idea, but you may have to subdivide each smaller category even further. Banking could include checking and savings; investments would include 401K and stocks. Follow this line of thought until everything is filed.
Remember to use words that you would actually say. Ask yourself where you would look for something if you needed it six months down the road and use those terms for your categories.
Another paperless option would be to scan receipts, invoices, and statements and file them on your computer or on a flash drive. Then you can shred the original paper copy. You may want to keep one invoice of each of your utilities in a folder and then scan and shred the rest. That way you have a paper backup for account information just in case you need it. Make sure when setting up computer files, you follow the same rules as in paper files, use words that you would use to find things to make it easier to retrieve the information in the future.
Once you have your filing system in place you want to use it – every day. Don’t let papers start piling up on your desk again. If you get something in the mail that lists an important date, add it to your calendar and toss the paper. If the information needs to be kept, file it right away, or scan it and shred the original. Finally your cluttered desk will be replaced by organized files and you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it, including the top of your desk!