In such a digital age, it is surprising how much physical paperwork we still accumulate and that ends up cluttering up our desks or poking out of trays, so much so that it can become a distraction. Seeing a desk littered with papers can be somewhat demoralising and it can really eradicate our focus when it comes to sitting down and getting on with work.
With all your important papers spread throughout your office, workspace or even house, you waste a lot of time and energy searching for them. You're also at risk of losing some of them completely, which come tax return time may cause problems!
However, with a few simple steps, you can organise your important paper documents in just a few hours and then all you need to do is maintain!
Keep a Record
It might be time consuming initially but, when first setting out a system for organising your paper documents, take the time to scan each document into your computer, especially receipts! Name them, create folders and then when a new document comes in scan and digitally file it. That way should something unexpected happen, you’ll still have a copy.
Before you start, try setting up folders and put a simple index at the front of each. Ring binders with tabs work well because it’s easier to then keep everything in date order. The index can just be written on a sheet of paper and glued into the front of the folder.
If you’re thinking this might take up too much room, grab a filing cabinet, and label the tabs of the folders inside.
Only keep paperwork items for the time that they are needed – there is no point in keeping last year’s car insurance paperwork when this years has arrived, just get rid of them and you will keep on top of the paperwork.
For self-employed people, 7 years is the key time frame to keep items.
Where possible, immediately open all mail and get rid of the junk mail and any unneeded items straight away – have a bin by where you open the post to make this as easy as possible.
Don’t forget to keep a paper shredder in your workspace, or make sure you have access to one, so that you can destroy any personal information that is to be thrown away.
Keep It Daily
Don’t let the paperwork build up – deal with it daily, and don’t let the piles blend together or get bigger than the space they are allocated. The longer you put something off, the larger the task can seem until it gets to the point where it’s overwhelming and you’re going out of your way to avoid it.
Set aside 10 minutes each day to “catch-up on paperwork,” sort through any new mail and file it away, along with any printing you’ve had to do. Ten minutes a day, will save hours of stress later.
Paperwork is kind of like washing; it generates itself on a daily basis. So, follow these tips for staying organised so you can keep it under control!
My name is Selina Johnson and I'm a Business Support Expert providing Virtual Business Support to businesses. We help SME's with administrative, technical and creative support so you are free to grow your business and increase your profits.
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