National Organize Your Files Week

What does your filing cabinet look like?  Are you one of the few people who doesn’t spend 55 minutes a week looking for that ONE piece of paper?  Good for You because typically every person wastes 2 hours a year looking for paperwork.  It is National Organize Your Files Week so let’s take a look at how you can get your files organized!

First – Sort through your paperwork and put it all into categories.  Some of your categories may be bills (which could be broken down into credit cards, household expenses and medical bills).  They may also be bank statements, newsletters, and general correspondence (that needs your attention). 

Second – If you haven’t filed for a while this may seem like a daunting task but don’t give up.  Gather your paperwork a handful at a time and use a large space for your sorting.  This is one of the few times that I would recommend using a flat surface for pile management!!! 

Third – Don’t get too detailed as you do your initial sorting.  Make this sort short and quick.  You will get detailed later. 

Fourth – If you have mail that you haven’t opened yet, take a minute to open it and take out all of the advertisements that are included in with your bills.  (There isn’t a reason to add all of that unnecessary paperwork to your piles).

Fifth – Once you have sorted everything into piles, take just one pile (the one that bothers you the most) and go through it.  Does it include bills that need to be paid?  If so, pull those out immediately and place them into a separate pile – away from the rest (you may find other bills in another pile and they all need to be kept together to ensure timely payment). 

Sixth – Continue working through your piles until you have gotten through everything.  If you get tired or depressed take a break.  But when you take a break, set a timer for 15-30 minutes.  Don’t allow your breaks get out of control – after all, you are on a mission to file all of this paperwork, right! 

Seventh – Since you are keeping your piles generic, you should be able to quickly and easily take one pile at a time and file it away.  If time is becoming a factor consider placing your piles into a portable filing system to be officially filed away at a later time.  However…as a reminder to yourself, mark a time on your calendar that you intend to file all of these papers away.  This is not a free excuse to only complete part of the process.  You must hold yourself accountable to filing everything away!

Paperwork is such a drain on businesses and families.  Statistically we receive more junk mail in one month than our grandparents received in their entire lifetime!  Hard to believe?  Not when you look at your piles of mail and paperwork.  The key to controlling your paperwork is to have a system that you can use daily – or weekly if necessary.  Keep ahead of the curve by making a quick decision about what can be shredded and/or eliminating immediately and avoid the paperwork chaos. 

Let me hear your success stories!!