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The Paper Tiger Blog contains great ideas on better ways to stay organized, clear your desk, reduce stress and spend less time managing information.


FREE Webinar Hosted by Ann Michael Henry

Stop Feeling Guilty About Being Disorganized!

10 Tips That Mess You Up

Tuesday, September 16th from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST

Register now for this FREE Webinar/Tele-class

Feeling guilty about being disorganized? Well it’s time to stop! There is no need to feel guilty about your disorganization — that guilt is only getting in your way and messing you up even more. So join Professional Organizer Ann Michael Henry, Founder of Mise En Place for her Stop Feeling Guilty About Being Disorganized! 10 Miss that Mess You Up Webinar/Tele-class

Feel like you’ve tried everything and still can’t get organized?  Do you think you should own stock in your local office supply store as well as Microsoft, Apple and Verizon?  Have all the stacking trays that neatly hold files on your desk turned into dust collectors?  To add insult to injury you can’t even remember what you put in those files.  Well you’re not alone.  Not only do we not teach people how to get organized, much of the advice out there actually messes us up even more.

Stop feeling guilty

After more than 10 years of organizing busy professionals, Professional Organizer, Ann Michael Henry, Founder of Mise En Place has decided that it’s time to blow the whistle on some of the most common tips and strategies that can actually mess you up more than they help you.

So, why does she want to blow the whistle?  She wants you to stop feeling guilty!  Who needs that?  We have enough stress in our lives without feeling guilty about a messy office – or home for that matter.  So, take a deep breath, let the guilt wash away. (Seriously, take a deep breath!) Plus, that guilt is only getting in the way of making progress on this issue. Ann Michael wouldn’t be surprised to discover that you’ve tried lots of different things to get yourself organized and it’s still not happening – and you are tired of beating yourself up.

Ann Michael has worked with people from the CEO level on down in a wide variety of organizations – disorganization isn’t title specific!  People at all levels and with all types of responsibilities struggle with disorganization – you aren’t alone.  So, Ann Michael is going to share with you 10 myths – or misconceptions – that she has seen over and over and over again that trip people up – often to the point of paralysis.  Ann Michael will share these myths with you – and – she promises you before she finishes that she will show you how to move past those myths and discover the strategies that do work.

Join Ann Michael for Stop Feeling Guilty About Being Disorganized! 10 Tips that Mess You Up Webinar/Tele-class on Tuesday, September 16th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST. There are two ways for you to participate in this program.  First, via webinar where you can see and hear the presentation with your PC from the comfort of your office.  For those who will not have access to their PC at the time of the presentation, you can listen via your telephone.

Interested, yet your schedule can’t accommodate the live webinar/tele-class? Register anyway! Ann Michael’s presentation will be recorded so that you can view or listen at your convenience.

Ann Michael Henry – Founder Mise En Place

Ann Michael Henry is the Founder of Mise En Place – an organization and productivity consulting firm that works with clients, helping them to discover the right tools and strategies for managing their time, e-mail, digital data, paper and workload. Ann Michael is a co-author of three books on productivity in the workplace, a speaker and a coach who is passionate about helping people create a work environment that actually allows them to work! Ann Michael and her team work in-person or virtually helping individuals and groups improve workplace productivity.


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Whether you’re organizing your desk drawers, filing cabinets, a stack of paper files, a closet, attic, or the garage, Paper Tiger Filing System software will help you get organized. You can have a system in place so you can maintain organization, and be able to live and work in an more productive environment.

You may be asking yourself, why do I want to add another ‘system’ to my chaos. Will this really help me get organized? Think about it this way. You are already wasting a lot of time searching for things, whether it be in your filing cabinet under a name you don’t remember what you filed it under, or maybe what you’re looking for is something that you’ve boxed up in the attic, but you don’t know which box?

You also may dread the thought of having to make decisions about what to throw away or what to keep. Remember the Pareto Principle, you know the 80/20 rule … we only use 20% of what we have, and the other 80% are back-ups, mistakes, things we hold on to because we don’t make good decisions about what to do with them. If you don’t try to figure out a system that will get you organized so you can find what you need when you need it, you may find that you’re only using 20% of what you can find!

How Paper Tiger Filing System Software Makes It Easier to Get Organized

Paper Tiger uses the power of the computer to organize documents stored in your file cabinets and enables users to actually find what they need, when they need it without time wasting searches. Instead of filing paper documents alphabetically, users file documents numerically. Instead of one “magic” word that you have to decide what to file a document under, you can assign as many keywords as you like!

Paper Tiger combined with a proven methodology, enables users to get organized and manage paper and other physical items more effectively.

The Concept of Locations

Think of your file cabinet as a “paper warehouse” and the hanging files in your file cabinet as containers in the warehouse. When you want to file something, you simply find an empty container (file folder), or an existing container with other papers on the same subject, put the paper in it, type in a few keywords relating to the document being filed, and you’re done! It is that simple!

With Paper Tiger, a location is a “group of like items” such as “Action” and “Reference”  – which are the first two locations we recommend that you set up when using Paper Tiger. For this reason, we have pre-printed tabs that can be ordered with Paper Tiger software. The pre-printed tabs are Action 1-60 and Reference 1-320 to get you started. In addition, there are several text labels for a Desktop File. Desktop Files are not a required component of Paper Tiger. They were developed as a way of customizing Paper Tiger for individual preferences. For many Paper Tiger users, that is all the labels they ever need.

How many locations should you have? With  Paper Tiger there are no “shoulds!” As long as you put in a few keywords for each file, you will be able to find anything you need. However, the more locations you create, the more complicated you make the system and the longer it will take. So start simple! You can easily refine the system later on and you will probably discover it’s unnecessary work.

To explain, a four drawer file cabinet can be one location (Reference) or four locations (Clients, Financial, Administrative, Research). The natural inclination of most people is to make it four locations. The least labor-intensive system, however, would be to make the file cabinet one Location called “Reference”.

Here’s Our Recommendation for Getting Organized with Paper Tiger

Start with two locations: Action and Reference. You can use the “Category” field to indicate whether the file contains client, financial, administration, or research info. Now you might be thinking: “Horror of horrors! All my files will be “mixed up.” Yes, they will be – but so what?

Think of doing a Google search for information. As long as the information shows up, do you care where it is? Think of Paper Tiger the same way.

Paper Tiger Action Files

If you have a paper file that requires action by you, it becomes an Action File. These are the types of files that you might be working on as a project that you want to keep close, maybe in your desk drawer. These are ‘temporary action’ files. When a project is complete, you can transfer this file to your Reference Location or toss if you don’t need to keep the documents for this project.

Organizing experts have worked one on one with hundreds of individuals, and have discovered that most people had single pieces of paper which required their action that they weren’t sure what to do with. When asked the question, “What is the next action you need to take on this piece of paper?” the most common answers were those that became “Desktop Files” such as “Call,” “Data Entry,” “Expense Reimbursement” or “Waiting on Response.” These are what we call ‘permanent action’ files because they are regular, repeating, frequent, and general, so not a project type action that will need a file folder of its own. Since these papers often move quickly and usually not needed after the action has completed, it is not recommended that you index them in Paper Tiger. For example:

  • Call file: after the call has been made, you can enter the phone information where you keep your contact information, then throw away the message reminder.
  • Expense Reimbursement: after you have turned in your expenses for a trip, and you have receive payment, you can file it in your Reference Location for your records. Alternately, you can scan and shred the physical paper file.

Paper Tiger Reference Files

If you don’t know whether you need a paper file, but you just don’t want to throw it away, or you want it for future reference, it should become a Reference File.

For a four-drawer file cabinet in your office called “Reference”, the outside of the drawers might be labeled as follows:

Drawer 1: Reference 1-55

Drawer 2: Reference 56-95

Drawer 3: Reference 96-140

Drawer 4: Reference 141-195

Each Reference number represents an item that you’ve indexed into Paper Tiger with item name and keywords…maybe a category, notes, and an action date.

If you just cannot bear to have certain files mixed in with all the other Reference files, then create a Location for that type of file. For example, some people want to be sure that they have all their client files together. In this case, create a Location named “Clients”, then the item names might be the client or company name, and keywords could be their account number with you, their address, phone number and any other information in which you might search for them later or of which you want to keep track, such as the last time you spoke to them.

The next Location you will want to create is Archives. This Location is for those documents that you don’t need in your Reference Location, but need to keep for financial or legal reasons for a specific length of time. You can also use the Archives Location for when documents can be tossed, but you’re not willing to get rid of them just yet. You will want to create this “Archives” Location in Paper Tiger and decide the physical location to where you’ll move those files. This will be in a less accessible location, so you will want to give it a new Location. Your Archives location could be located in a storage room, garage, attic, or at a records retention storage company.

You might also think about when each item can be removed (tossed/shredded) and set an Action Date to that item when you transfer them to your Archive Location in Paper Tiger and physically. That way you will know when each file can be removed without going through the file. Creating a records retention policy for your home and/or office will help you to have a guideline of how long you should keep records in your specific situation so you don’t have to rethink this every time you clean out your files. We have articles under our blog category, “Retention Guidelines: How long should you keep records?” that you might find helpful.

Most records retention storage companies require that you place a label on the box you send to them indicating when the files therein should be destroyed. You can simply do the same thing with your Archived files wherever you store them.

Other Physical Items (not paper files)

For other physical items, (such as books, CDs, DVDs, boxes/containers, etc.), decide if the items need a location in Paper Tiger or if you can index keywords for the items in with other things. See other Location suggestions described on our Not Just For Filing Paper page. Basically, anything that you can put a number onto, can be indexed into Paper Tiger. For example, for CDs or DVDs, you can either place a numbered label that matches the item number in Paper Tiger, on the CD/DVD jacket or you can place the CD/DVD in a binder such as the one pictured below, index the name, author, and other pertinent information into the item’s keywords section in Paper Tiger. As you can see, the item number was written with permanent marker on the DVD and on the DVD binder slot. So the DVD numbered 45, would match what was indexed in Paper Tiger’s item number 45 for the DVD Location (DVD 45).

Other Locations might be for information only (unless you keep related papers in your Reference files), such as:

  • Passwords: for user names and passwords for websites
  • Subscriptions: for keeping record of subscriptions and renewal info
  • Statistics or Ideas
  • Books Read: books you’ve given away, but don’t want to forget you’ve read
  • Frequent Traveler – Membership #, toll free phone number, User ID, facts about memberships

To create your custom Location labels or more Action or Reference labels, Paper Tiger makes it easy. In case you’re wondering, there is no limit to the number of locations you can have! Click here to see even more ways to use Paper Tiger to get organized.


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Filing System Makes the Grade for Back to School

back to school

Can you believe that stores are stocking the shelves already with back to school supplies? Yes, we are already seeing the local school supply lists displayed. Teachers will soon be preparing to open the doors to their classrooms and parents will be scrambling to purchase the school supplies needed for their children to get back to school.

We’re sure these teachers wish that preparation for the new school year was as simple as purchasing pens and pads, but unfortunately it is not. However, Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management can make maintaining organization in the classroom a little easier for them.

Think about all the paper files that needs to be kept up with to be able to find when needed. Teacher are likely to teach many different types of students and subjects, and most of the time alphabetical order isn’t enough. Here are some of the things that Paper Tiger can help you with:

  • students’ assignments, handouts & tests
  • attendance records
  • lesson plans
  • appointments & meeting notes
  • worksheets, etc.

Of course, parents and students can easily get overwhelmed with the amount of papers, handouts, homework assignments, project instructions, etc. that is hard to maintain in an organized way if a filing system software is not implemented, not only for back to school but throughout the year.

Paper Tiger Filing System to Organize Paper Files for Back to School

With Paper Tiger’s flexibility, the files can be organized in a way that fits your personal workload. You would simply input the name of the items and keywords related to each file or set of the same file types in your Paper Tiger database. (Hanging File Folders = Items) When a file is needed, a simple search can locate any file in seconds.

You can use the aforementioned categories, such as attendance records and student assignments and the keywords would include the specifics such as the class, the grade, the year, the class period, etc. Replacing the endless paper piles on your desk, Paper Tiger not only reduces clutter but it saves time. You will no longer have to worry about losing an assignment to hand out, creating it again and making twenty-five copies only to spot the original on your desk.

Gone are the days of excessive sorting and taking stacks of miscellaneous paper home every night. With Paper Tiger, all of your paper files can be neatly organized in your file drawer(s) and you don’t have to worry about being able to find them later. This virtually eliminates losing paper files as well. This type of system will also benefit your substitute teacher. Life sometimes gets in the way and we have to miss work. If your substitute teacher can easily find your organized files, (s)he will be able to find what she needs with a simple search in your Paper Tiger database. Or you can search in your Paper Tiger database and let the substitute know where the file is. You can feel confident that your students won’t be disrupted in their lessons because you have implemented a system that keeps you, and your substitute teacher, organized. Your substitute teacher can feel better when coming to your class, because he(she) will not have to scramble around searching for what is needed for the day.

Have you ever had a star student that you make an example of in the next school year? You can set a location for “exemplary work” and also know where your past students’ best work is. The same type of thought process can apply to parent-teacher conferences and future lesson plans.

By implementing this system, teachers are not only becoming more organized and efficient, they are being responsible. Imagine if your students were going on a field trip and you can’t remember if Joseph brought back his permission slip or you’ve misplaced it. By organizing these types of documents, you will always have a preset place for them and be able to find them when you need them. You will always be able to retrieve the documents in a timely manner.

The same principle applies for parents and students. Decide what paper files need to be kept, then index the keepers into Paper Tiger’s database. When you need to retrieve an old project paper, you can search the database and you’ll know exactly which hanging file it was placed in. Also, each child could have one file for archives (reports, etc.) that should be kept and one file for stuff that can be tossed out when it’s no longer needed, to avoid having to sort through the files on a regular basis.

An example Location in Paper Tiger’s database for each child might be:

Location Name: Susie’s School Files
Item Name: English (with keywords for any projects and when they are due, along with keywords for other paper files that will be included in this hanging file folder and updated when papers are added)
Item Name: Math (with keywords for any projects and when they are due, along with keywords for other paper files that will be included in this hanging file folder and updated when papers are added)
Item Name: History (with keywords for any projects and when they are due, along with keywords for other paper files that will be included in this hanging file folder and updated when papers are added)
Item Name: Archives (with keywords for all paper files that will be included in this hanging file folder and updated when papers are added)
Item Name: To Be Tossed (set a date to toss these paper files, which could be at school end)

But Not Just for Filing Paper!

Paper Tiger is Not Just For Filing Paper! If you teach a younger group of kids that use a lot of educational toys, this indexing system will certainly keep them organized. You can use and label storage containers to store these larger items. Younger children have shorter attention spans and won’t be patient while you figure out if the flashcards and toy numbers are in the same place you had them last year. By numbering the storage containers to match the assigned indexed number in Paper Tiger, then input the contents into the keywords section, you’ll know exactly where the state puzzles are when you need them without searching through every container. And you’ll know the place to put the items back for the next time you need them.

Paper Tiger helps to eliminate clutter, so teachers, parents and students will be more organized, and each will have more time to spend with their families because they are not wasting time always looking for things.

This indexing system can benefit teachers of all grades, classrooms, and students. As you prepare to welcome your students in the next few weeks, think about using Paper Tiger Filing System to make school a much more rewarding experience for both you and your students when returning back to school.


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Due to Microsoft ending support for Windows XP, Paper Tiger version 3 and older users will need to upgrade to version 4 or switch to Paper Tiger Online.

Windows XP Support Ended

You can check to see which version of Paper Tiger you are running by clicking Help at the top menu, then select About Paper Tiger. You should see in the dialog box, your build and your serial number.

Paper Tiger Version 3 and Older Users

Effective July 31, 2014, support ends for assistance in converting Paper Tiger version 3 and older databases. We will continue to assist in converting the older databases as long as possible, but we cannot guarantee the success rate. We are already running into instances where there is damage to the old database, and we cannot repair in order to convert. We will end support for converting 3.0 and older databases on July 31, 2014, but again, we cannot guarantee the success rate of conversion until then. See this knowledge base article for Converting 3.0 or Older Database ‘.PTD’ to version 4.1.

  • NOTE FOR 64 BIT MACHINE USERS USING VERSIONS 3.0 OR LOWER:

If your computer is running on 64 bit OS systems, Paper Tiger cannot convert 3.0 or older databases to version 4.1.29.  In order to convert them into version 4.1.29, please send your old database to our technical support team at [email protected] until July 31, 2014.

The time to upgrade is now. We have extended Paper Tiger sale throughout May. Upgrade to Paper Tiger desktop version 4 or switch to Paper Tiger Online Pro or one of the multi-user accounts NOW to take advantage of the sale.

Click here to upgrade!

Paper Tiger Version 4 Users

If you are already in version 4 (4.0 or 4.1) of Paper Tiger, you can update to the latest build (4.1.29) with no additional cost by opening Paper Tiger, and click on the Help button at the top menu, select the option to Check for Updates. This should take you through the update process, but if not, you can also check for updates using the following link:

http://www.thepapertiger.net/papertigernet/UserCheckforUpdates.aspx

When updating Paper Tiger 4.1:
———————————————————–
1. Be sure to log on as the Windows Administrator (recommended) or with an account that has administrative rights (the Paper Tiger software must be installed by an Administrator)
2. Disable any anti-virus software along with any other running programs that may interfere with the installation process then turn your anti-virus back on after installation has completed.

3. You may need your serial number and you may need to restore your .BAK or .CSV database file. Below are knowledge base articles you might find helpful in converting or restoring your database.

Please email [email protected] if you have questions about your version of Paper Tiger desktop edition, or need help when purchasing an upgrade.

How To Migrate Your Version of  Paper Tiger Desktop Software

  • Open Paper Tiger and export or create a backup file of your current Paper Tiger database to ensure you have the latest changes in your database. Network edition users will need to open Paper Tiger as the Administrator.

  • Version 3 or older users should upgrade to Version 4.1.29 or choose a monthly or yearly subscription of Paper Tiger Online, (Pro plan for single users or one of the multi-user plans for your office needs), via our website Pricing Page.

  • Convert your database from your previous version into your upgraded desktop version, or email your database to [email protected] for importing to Paper Tiger Online. See this knowledge base article for instructions on how to prepare your database for importing into Paper Tiger Online.

  • IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE WITH THIS MIGRATION, CONTACT US VIA OUR SUPPORT PORTAL or EMAIL at [email protected]

Thank you!
The Monticello Corporation, makers of Paper Tiger Filing System software


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Get Organized with Paper Tiger

Get Organized with the SMART System

Even thinking about what you have to do and the decisions you have to make to get organized, can be overwhelming. You might be tempted to give up before you start – but don’t! Whether you’re organizing your desk drawers, filing cabinets, a stack of paper files, a closet, attic, or the garage, you can make a SMART start!

Work SMART!

Sort: Whatever you’re organizing, you will need to sort through the clutter. Put similar or like things together.

Think about the similar items you have scattered throughout your home or office, and make a home for those like items to get them together. For example, do you have appliance manuals and warranties scattered, but cannot find the one you need? Depending on the volume of these similar things, designate a drawer, a hanging box file folder, or a box for these. Note that you don’t have to go searching for these items now. This could waste a lot of unnecessary time, however you will at least have a home for these items and will know where they go when you organize and sort through another part of your home or office and come across them at that time.

Make good decisions now! You’ll need to ask yourself some questions about your paper files and other stuff. Remember the Pareto Principle, you know the 80/20 rule … we only use 20% of what we have, and the other 80% are back-ups, mistakes, things we hold on to because we don’t make good decisions about what to do with them. Set yourself up for continued maintenance.

  • Does this need action on my part?
  • Does this need to be given to someone else for action? Delegate! Send it on, with instructions if needed.
  • Do I really need it? Do I need to keep it for tax or legal reasons?
  • What will happen if I throw/give it away, but need it again later? What is the worst thing to happen if I don’t have it? If it’s a paper file, does it exist elsewhere?
  • Is it recent enough to be useful? Or if physical other than paper, have I used this in the last 6 months? If not, ask if there is a more convenient place for this item.
  • Do I love it? If you don’t love it, decide to give it away or toss it. If it is something that causes you emotional turmoil when asking these questions, is it something that you could take a picture of for the memory, and then let it go?

Action: For things that need action by you, either do it now or place a note on it that outlines what action needs to be taken and by what deadline. (See Paper Tiger Action Files)

Reference: Paper files that you need to keep, but do not require action, can be indexed into your Reference file location. (See Paper Tiger Reference Files).

Toss/shred: If you don’t need a piece of paper, then throw it away or shred it! If you don’t need that old bike anymore, give it away. If you can’t wear or haven’t worn some of your clothes or shoes in a year, then give them away.

Paper Tiger Filing System software combined with a proven methodology, enables users to get organized and manage paper and other physical items more effectively. Click here to see when using Paper Tiger, getting organized doesn’t have to be tough!

Work the SMART system and get organized quickly!


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No matter when your tax deadlines are, it’s always good practice to have your records in order so that you won’t have to do last minute scrambling looking for the documents needed tax time preparation. Indexing your paper files in Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management is ideal to ensure you are able to find your files when you need them.

It is estimated that people waste 150 hours per year searching for lost information. How much of your time is wasted strictly around tax time? Everyone needs a system of sorts to help them organize, and Paper Tiger is the perfect tool to use as a year-round filing system. Retrieving documents to prepare for filing your taxes does not have to be an ordeal.

Tax Time Preparation

Where should you start when organizing for preparing your taxes?

Click here to see a tax prep checklist from H&R Block, which would be a great place to start. You need to know what types of documents you will need whether you are preparing to file your taxes for yourself or if you will have a tax professional prepare them for you.

If you already have your files set up the way you want them and you have them indexed into your Paper Tiger database already, you can transfer those files out of the current Paper Tiger and physical location to an archived location. See Archiving Old Files section below.

If not, then you’ll need to decide what hanging file folders you need for each of these categories based on your situation so that you can proactively prepare for filing this year’s documents. While you’re going through documents for preparing your taxes, it is a good time to think about what file folders you’ll need for your current year. For each hanging file folder, create an item in your Paper Tiger database so that you can index the keywords that relate to the documents in the folder. When you need to retrieve a file, you simply search in Paper Tiger by the keyword and you’ll be able to find the file quickly.

To start with Paper Tiger Document Management Software, you would first set up all hanging file folders in your file cabinets coinciding with each ‘Location‘ in your Paper Tiger database at one time using the numbered tabs that you print out from the software and they never change. You type in information relating to each document in the item name and keyword section of Paper Tiger’s database digital file location. You can give the document any name you want without any worry about finding it later. This is because the system will allow you to tag keywords that describe all documents that you put into your hanging file folders. For documents that you want to add to the same file, simply edit the Item in the database and add additional keywords necessary for the new document(s). When your physical files have been indexed into the database, the easy-to-use search engine virtually eliminates lost information in your office, as well as eliminating filing the same subject matter under different names because you’ve forgotten what you filed it under previously.

Because the hanging file folders are already set up and waiting for your information, you also eliminate the time-consuming hassle of having to find and create a file folder tab each time you want to file something.

Whether filing away tax documents or other important files, be sure to file those documents immediately and in the correct location. Paper Tiger will keep them organized, but you have to take that first step towards getting your files in the right places. It’s especially important that you make sure your tax documents have a “home” and that you index them into your Paper Tiger database.

How Long Should Tax Documents Be Kept

Here is an interesting fact that you should know: while most people assume that they can throw away or destroy their tax papers and other documents after a few years, that is not always true. In some cases, you might be legally required to hold onto all or some of these documents forever.

Because you are supposed to keep your personal past taxes on record for at least seven years, it can be easy to lose track of your archived files … which box in the garage or attic did you file previous year’s tax documents? For businesses, it is important to keep your records even longer. Isn’t it worthwhile to have them filed correctly for the time period you have to keep them? Using Paper Tiger filing system, this does not need to be a burdensome task.

Archiving Old Files

How to archive old files is simple with Paper Tiger. Decide where your physical archived location should be. (wherever you keep the files that you don’t need in your main filing cabinet) Whether the best place is in boxes in the garage or a filing cabinet in the attic, simply create a location in Paper Tiger named “Archives”, and conduct a Transfer, Move function of the file or files being moved to the Archive Location within your database. Paper Tiger will assign a file number in your Archives file to move the file to in the physical location, where you will set up hanging file folders accordingly.

Alternately, if you need the same hanging file folders under the same name for the current year’s files, instead of a Transfer, Move function, you could  conduct a Transfer, Duplicate to duplicate these files to Archives. Then you would simply change the date of the original files (both in the database and in the physical file location for the current year, as necessary) to be able to have a location for your current year’s files. The item name and keywords will most likely be the same in this case, but you can update your item and keywords in Paper Tiger, as necessary.

You will be rotating papers in and out of your system every single year. Taking the time to get organized now can save you years of grief as well as possible legal issues. Paper Tiger Document Management Software can help you get organized and stay organized. And don’t forget about Paper Tiger’s File Cleanout report that can be used to help you decide which items need to be moved, duplicated, or tossed/shredded.

During an audit, you might be asked to provide documentation that goes back many years. The IRS will not care that you don’t have your papers in a file nor will they give you benefit of the doubt if you say you cannot “find” something. That is not their problem, and they may penalize you further for everything that you do not produce when asked; making it absolutely vital that you keep the files and papers organized and easy to find.

We have several articles under the Retention Guidelines: How Long Should I Keep Records? category that you might find helpful.

Here is an example of how Paper Tiger can help you file and find a file:

If you have papers you need to keep for taxes, but also need them in other files, it can be confusing when you need to retrieve them for tax time. For instance, you need to keep track of a medical bill you are paying off in “Bills” file, but also need it for your “Taxes” file to find at the end of the year. With a traditional filing system, you would have to choose which file to put it in knowing it will be hard to find it later because you may not remember which file you put it in.

In Paper Tiger, the Item Name would be “Bills to Pay”and you might have several bills in that folder. You would simply edit that item, then type the keywords “hospital bill” and “medical” in the item’s keyword section when adding the medical bill to the Bills to Pay file. Then just like when you use any other search engine, you would search for any one of those keywords when you need to retrieve the documents, and Paper Tiger does the work. The results will come back letting you know which file it is in so you can retrieve it. All you have to do is make sure you type in as many possible keywords you can think of when filing the documents, and you will never have a problem again tracking down a document for any purpose.

Never scramble for documents around tax season again. Use Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management all year to organize all important documents so that tax time won’t be quite so dreaded.


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Are You Ready to Get Organized?

Need help getting organized?

This FREE webinar will help!

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Tues, Oct 7, 2014, 4:00 PM PST / 7:00 PM EST
Wed, Nov 5, 2014, 4:00 PM PST / 7:00 PM EST
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Is this you?

  • Do you often wonder where the time went?
  • Does your to-do list keep getting longer, even though it feels like nothing is getting done?
  • Have you totally given up on keeping a to-do list?
  • Do you have trouble finding what you need?
  • Do you feel like you’ll NEVER catch up?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Kathy Paauw, of Paauwerfully Organized, can help out by teaching you some powerful techniques that will help you increase your personal and professional productivity. In fact, don’t be surprised if you can add an hour or MORE to your day EVERY DAY.

Imagine what you would do with an extra hour each and every day. That is an additional 365 hours or over nine 40 hour work weeks of extra time. Think of this next time you make the statement, “I wish I had more time”.

Here’s what you’ll be able to accomplish when you attend Kathy’s upcoming ‘Buried in Paper’ webinar and put what you learn into practice:

  • Set your priorities and focus on what matters most (do this and you’ll be amazed at how fast you can start crossing things off your to-do list).
  • Remember important follow-up tasks BEFORE rather than AFTER… (wouldn’t that save tons of stress not to mention embarrassment?)
  • Efficiently handle mail, filing, returning phone calls and other repetitive tasks so you’ll have more time to do the things you LOVE to do.
  • Streamline information management and communications (no more time wasted on information that’s “interesting but not relevant” to what you need NOW).
  • Relax and enjoy a less cluttered environment.

Register now for a FREE monthly
90-minute webinar, taught since 2003.
(Kathy keeps teaching it because it is so popular!)

Buried in Paper:

Learn a simple five-step process to help you eliminate paper pile-up forever.

Choose a webinar:

Tues, Oct 7, 2014, 4:00 PM PST / 7:00 PM EST
Wed, Nov 5, 2014, 4:00 PM PST / 7:00 PM EST
Wed, Dec 3, 2014, 4:00 PM PST / 7:00 PM EST

About Kathy Paauw

Kathy founded Paauwerfully Organized in 1995, and offers three primary services: productivity consulting, business and personal coaching, and training.

Kathy says, “Organization for the sake of ‘being organized’ has no value, but it is a vital tool to help you accomplish what is most important to you. Organizational skills and effective systems can improve productivity, reduce stress, and improve the quality of your personal and professional life.”

www.OrgCoach.net


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There are varying estimates based on different surveys and research, but experts agree that the average person wastes a considerable amount of time searching for things they’ve misplaced. We’ve been told that an average American spends over 150 hours per year, just looking for lost information (paper files or digital files), in addition to searching for other physical items, such as keys, eye glasses, tools, etc. Some estimates are even higher than this! Based on a 260 day year (not considering holidays, personal days, etc., and let’s say you never search for anything on the weekends…), that is almost 35 minutes per day, 2.9 hours per week and 12.5 hours per month!

Paper Tiger Filing System Software can help you organize your paper files, but the software can also help you get organized in more than just filing paper so you won’t have trouble finding anything. Getting storage areas organized may seem even more of a daunting task than tackling your paper files, but it can be rewarding and help to declutter your life. Even if you already have your boxes stored in an organized manner, you may not remember what is in each one. Paper Tiger can index anything; it’s not just for document management! In fact, you can index any physical item that you can put a number onto, i.e., binders, books, CDs, DVDs, etc. You can get organized, not have to worry about putting things away, and you’ll quickly be able to find them again!

You may have things in an attic, a garage, a basement, a storage shed on your property and some belongings in a rented storage unit. One of the biggest problems people have with their belongings is not even knowing what they have. So, if you are looking for a particular tool and cannot find it, you may end up buying another one and wasting money. People invest a good deal of money into certain things they may only use once in a while, but when you need it, you should be able to locate it quickly.

Organizing and Searching for Paper Files

For those paper files that you need to keep in hard copy format, index the item name and keywords relating to those documents into Paper Tiger. Click here to see more details on how Paper Tiger works with paper files, as well as suggestions on how to file.

Organizing Storage Areas So That Searching Is Not A Problem

The best thing to do for organized living is to get an idea of what you need access to on a regular basis. You will need to decide what items you don’t want to keep in the house, or no longer have room for, and what can be stored in the basement, attic or storage building. You may want to take one room at a time to pull out things that should be stored. Then when you’re boxing the items to be stored, index them into your Paper Tiger database. Filing system software works great for this, because you can inventory and index what you actually have in the location you decide for storage, and what storage box or shelf the item is located. Then when it comes time for finding an item, you can simply conduct a quick Google-like search in your Paper Tiger database and know exactly where it is located. This will save you countless hours, because you won’t have to sift through everything before finding the needed item.

Box up smaller loose items and mark the box with a number. If you use Paper Tiger filing system software, you can keep track of what is in each of those boxes. You won’t have to sift through tons of boxes looking for that one particular thing if you know from your inventoried list which box number to find it in. Each box would represent an Item number in your Paper Tiger database, and the keywords would be the items in the box.

Keep items that you use the most close to the entry doors of the storage area and the rest can get packed in neatly. Take care to avoid storing anything that may not hold up well to weather issues, if possible. These types of items, or those you don’t use often but want to keep, will need to be stored in-house or can go to a climate-controlled offsite storage area.

The important part really is to use Paper Tiger filing system software to keep track of what you own, what you are storing and where it is being stored. Indexing your items into this filing system will ensure that you know exactly where these things are, before you end up buying another one because you can’t find the original.

Documentation of your belongings also helps other people who may need to gain access to things for you. If you want an organized life, organizing storage areas is a great way to declutter your home and life.

How to Make Searching and Finding a Snap

There are so many uses for Paper Tiger because it is not just a filing system for your paper files, but can index any physical item. It would not be easy to give examples for everything, but we will give a couple of examples here that will hopefully give you the general idea. Just know that if you can imagine being able to put a number onto whatever type of item that you want to inventory or index, you can let your imagination run.

Example:  Shelves in Garage

  1. You can name a Location in Paper Tiger named ‘Garage Shelves’. I’m going to use the example pictured above.
  2. Print out labels from the database to be affixed to the boxes or plastic tubs on your shelves. (Labels will be numbered like Garage Shelves 1, Garage Shelves 2, Garage Shelves 3, Garage Shelves 4, etc.)
  3. For box #1, click on Add Item in Paper Tiger Garage Shelves Location. (when you add an item, Paper Tiger will assign a number to that item, so in this case Garage Shelves 1.)
  4. Enter Keywords for all contents in box #1, such as blankets, pink flower cushions, sheet set, shelf 1, 1st row. Going down the shelves, box #2, click Add Item, then add keywords for all contents in box #2, shelf 1, 2nd row. Continue for each box. If you’d also like to assign an item # to things not in a box or tub, you can do that. You can also type in the shelf location for a keyword, such what I did here: shelf 1, 1st row.
  5. Match Label Numbers and Item Names: Make sure the label number you affix to each box (or item not in a box) matches what you input for the Item Name/keywords in Paper Tiger.

Example:  Boxes of Seasonal Decorations

  1. If you want to keep all of your decorations together, you can name a Location in Paper Tiger ‘Decorations’ and say you have 5 boxes of seasonal decorations, so your Location capacity would be 5. In the description for the Location, you can input where you will store your boxes of decorations, such as ‘Decorations are stored in Basement on 2nd from top shelf of Shelf 1 of 2′, or if you have as many as 5 boxes, it might be ‘Decorations are stored in Basement on first 3 shelves from top of Shelf 1 of 2′.
  2. Print out labels from the database to be affixed to the 5 boxes.
  3. Enter Item Name for each theme of decorations that you have, i.e., Christmas or Thanksgiving or Spring. Click on Add Item, and when you add an item, Paper Tiger will assign a number to that box. In this example, box #1 item name might be ‘Spring’, box #2 item name might be ‘Thanksgiving’, box #3 item name might be ‘Christmas’, etc.
  4. Enter Keywords for each theme, such as in box #1, your Spring items might include a spring flag, bunnies, tablecloth and picnic items.
  5. Match Label Numbers and Item Names: Make sure the label number you affix to each box matches the decoration theme that you input for the Item Name/keywords in Paper Tiger.

Watch this webinar hosted by Meggin McIntosh that shows how she organizes her paper files and the boxes of training material in her storage facility with Paper Tiger: http://www.thepapertiger.com/blog/paper-tiger-webinar-hosted-meggin-mcintosh/

See other great ideas from our Not Just For Filing Paper webpage!

Using Paper Tiger filing system, you can have a place for everything, and searching and finding your stuff doesn’t have to be a worry!


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Grow Your Business with a Virtual Assistant

Entrepreneurs! Stop Wearing so Many Hats!

Tuesday, March 4th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

If you weren’t able to participate during the live session, please be sure to listen to the recording which you can find here as well as the handout with a “must have” list of online tools you need in building your business.

Is your business too small to hire a full time employee, but too big to manage on your own? Do you spend 80% of your time on administrative tasks and only 20% generating revenue to grow your business? Do you want professional, quality help without the hassle of paying for benefits, vacation time, holiday pay and insurance? Do you want to have a life? (After all, isn’t that why you went out on your own?) If this describes your situation – then a Virtual Assistant may be the perfect solution for your growing business.

  • Tired of not being able to get to the things that you want to get to?
  • Frustrated that too many opportunities are slipping through the cracks?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to spend more time with friends and family?
  • Weary of the long hours?

Are you frustrated with the rate of growth you are experiencing because you can’t seem to get things done that you know will generate revenue? Are you tired of saying to yourself, “I shouldn’t be doing this”? Are you regretting that you started your own business? Chances are you answered yes to more than one of these questions and you realize that without some help you will continue to lose business.

How many hats are you wearing?

Working with a Virtual Assistant is an excellent way to take that first step, to get the help you need so that you can stop focusing on the administrivia and focus on revenue generating activities. It’s that simple.

No more wasting time on tasks that aren’t your forte.

  • No capital investment on equipment!
  • If training on a tool or resource is needed, they take the training on their time so you don’t have to!
  • You’re hiring a professional who regards themselves as part of your team and represents your company accordingly.

Ann Michael Henry, Professional Organizer and Founder of Mise En Place, an organizing and productivity consulting firm, will walk you through what it means to work with a Virtual Assistant. During this tele-class, Ann Michael will share with you what she’s learned over the past eight plus years of working with a Virtual Assistant to grow her business. During the presentation you will discover:

  • 8 signs that you need a Virtual Assistant
  • The primary advantages of working with a Virtual Assistant
  • 15 ways Virtual Assistant can help you grow your business
  • How to find a Virtual Assistant

Your business won’t thrive if you are trying to do it all yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed and you are frustrated with your inability to seize all of the opportunities that you know are available to you (if you just had the time) then it’s time to hire a Virtual Assistant. Register now and learn how to Grow Your Business with a Virtual Assistant.

P.S. Busy schedule?  Can’t join us?  Register anyway.  This tele-class will be recorded and we will send you a link so that you can listen to it at your convenience. You won’t want to miss out on how to Grow Your Business with a Virtual Assistant.

Since founding Mise En Place in 2003, Ann Michael’s accomplishments include:

  • Founding Member of the Network for Productivity Excellence
  • Certified GO System Trainer
  • Certified Productive Environment Specialist
  • Co-author of 3 Great Books on Productivity in the workplace
    • Focus Organization Productivity: Ideas for Improving Success in the Workplace
    • Exploring Productivity: Ideas from Industry Professionals on Getting More Done in the Workplace
    • Insights on Productivity. Ideas from Industry Professionals on Getting More Done in the Workplace
  • Golden Circle Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers
  • National Speakers Association Member
  • Launched Mise En Place for Life – Designed for the personal side of our life, this Mise En Place team helps restore calm to your home and life.

Ann Michael believes that being organized and productive isn’t about perfection. It’s about having the tools and processes in place that best support you so that you can get the job done. It’s not about over thinking it, it’s not about saying yes to everyone, it’s not about being connected 24/7, it’s not about doing it all.  It’s about getting the most impactful things done.

Click here to register now and learn how to Grow Your Business with a Virtual Assistant!


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Managing paper and getting organized in any office is an overwhelming task, because there is a seemingly ever-increasing mountain of paper files.

Whether you’re an individual, a small or large company, you must practice good time management and office organization techniques in order to control costs and provide excellent service. Experts agree that efficient staff productivity is a must, and Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management is a simple and effective tool that can help you in getting organized and save time. You get all the power of the computer WITHOUT the risks and time commitment of paper scanning.

What is lost information costing you?

How much does it cost you, not only monetarily, but in stress and lost time when you have to search for something you need, and it takes a while to find it or recreate it? Is your current filing system working for you? Are you able to retrieve what you need, when you need it?

Experts tell us that the average person wastes 150 hours per year just looking for things, and we’ve found some estimates even higher. You can calculate the cost of disorganization in your office at http://thepapertiger.com/roicalculator and you’ll see in a matter of seconds, that your return on investment using Paper Tiger will quickly allow you to get organized and be more productive. Imagine the satisfaction and reduced stress of being able to put your fingers on what you need, when you need it! And Paper Tiger is not just for filing paper … you can index into the software’s database any physical item that you can put a number onto.

Getting organized and more productive will give you more time to do the things you enjoy! An organized and productive system will help you manage your time more wisely.

How does Paper Tiger help you in getting organized?

Paper Tiger allows you to go ahead and set up hanging files with numbered tabs, so they are ready to drop your paper files into. Paper Tiger greatly simplifies filing by eliminating the problems found in traditional alphabetic methods and has made finding paper files in the office faster and much more reliable.

Stacks of paper files all over the office lead to frustration and inefficiency, which is costly in both time and money, so you must prioritize and decide on procedures to handle the paper that comes through your office. To create an even more efficient office, be sure to document your policy for paper handling and retention guidelines. This will ensure that everyone is organized in the same way and training on these procedures will be a cinch in the event of employee illness or staff turnover.

When going through mail and any other documents that cross your desk, decide what needs action, what should be filed, and what should be tossed. Today’s mail is tomorrow’s clutter. Stop making stacks; start making decisions!

-Decide what is junk, and toss or shred what should be tossed immediately.

-For items that need to be filed, the best practice would be to open your Paper Tiger database and type in Item Name and Keywords for each item as necessary, then immediately drop into the corresponding hanging folder. You don’t have to worry about remembering what name you filed it under later because you can input as many keywords as you like for any given file. If you already have a file indexed for a specific subject, just edit the Item in Paper Tiger to add any necessary keywords and add it to that existing hanging file folder.

Alternately, you could have a tray or folder on your desk where you can immediately place items to be filed. Then set aside 15 minutes to clear your desk at the end of each day, enter the necessary information regarding the ‘to be filed’ into your Paper Tiger database, and place the files into the corresponding hanging folder. (remember, the hanging folders are already set up, so you don’t have to worry about finding folders and making tabs)

-Prioritize action items. Decide if the action can be done immediately. If not, either delegate or check the deadline. Decide how long it will take you to complete the task, and go ahead and schedule the time on your calendar for the length of time needed to get the job done by the deadline. Input the Item Name and Keywords information regarding the action file into Paper Tiger, and select the Action date to start. Place the item in the corresponding Action Item hanging folder. This gives you a place to put all files relating to the same project without stacking up on your desk until you’re ready to work on it.

Do you have a records retention policy?

Paper Tiger is great for short-term action files, as well as long-term storage of files. Of course, purging of files should be a task that is done regularly according to your office retention guidelines and compliance with regulations to ensure your filing cabinets do not overflow with unnecessary or outdated files. If you don’t have a records retention policy, (how long certain types of files should be kept), now is a good time to make those decisions. You’ll not only save time by having to think about this every year, but you will set you and your staff up for better efficiency, as well as keeping your office space clutter-free and efficient.

When you’re ready to purge files to archives or to recycle/shred, simply conduct a Transfer of the file(s) in your Paper Tiger database, print a Transfer report if needed, and then remove the physical files from your filing cabinet or desk drawer. (If transferring to archives, don’t forget to set the action date in Paper Tiger when a file should be removed from archives to recycle/shred. That way, you’re sure to keep up with the life-cycle of your document management system, and you don’t keep files too long.) Then box the files you’ve removed, label the box with the corresponding item number in Paper Tiger’s database as well as the date the contents should be recycled/shredded, and send to the archive location. You’ll want to box files to be recycled/shredded at the same time in one or more boxes.

For example, you may have financial files and legal files that need to be kept for 7 years, but you need to clear last year’s files to make room for the current year in your immediate file area. For all files that need to be purged in 7 years, place them in the same box or multiple boxes if there are that many, and label the box Archive 1 (or whatever the archive item number is in Paper Tiger), then write “Purge and shred December 31, 2020″ on the box or label. Your archive boxes can be placed in order of archive item number so that you’ll know where they are and which boxes should be purged on what date. If you’ve set the action date in Paper Tiger when a file should be removed from archives to recycle/shred, when you open Paper Tiger, a reminder flag will let you know which files or boxes need action next.

Making decisions regarding how paper should flow through your office and the life-cycle of document management and retention will go a long way in your staff time management, increased productivity and organization. As mentioned previously, when you document your paper handling system and retention guidelines (the schedule in the life cycle of documents in your office), you will reduce cost and legal liabilities. Keeping unnecessary files will result in over-stuffed filing cabinets or storage space. In addition, different types of files need to be kept or destroyed based on legal reasons and time-lines, which could result in civil or criminal issues.

See our Blog Category for Records Retention: How long should you keep records? for articles written from different sources, including the IRS, to help you decide document/records retention schedule for your specific needs.

Following are 3 simple steps that will help you get organized, but remember, these steps do not have to be done in one day. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be more organized and productive.

  1. Clear your desk first, indexing paper files into Paper Tiger as you file things away, then move to your desk drawers and filing cabinets.
  2. After every hanging file folder has a corresponding item in your Paper Tiger database, review your records retention policy.
  3. When you have a good retention policy, then you can use Paper Tiger’s ‘File Cleanout’ report to help you purge or archive files no longer needed in your immediate filing area. Use the Transfer function in Paper Tiger to easily transfer the item to archive or toss it as necessary. You’ll be able to keep up with where the files are at any given point in its life-cycle.

With the help of Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management, getting organized doesn’t have to be overwhelming.


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Each year we hear the same new year’s resolutions over and over again, “I’m going to exercise more this year” or “I’ll be nicer to my family this year” or “I’m getting organized this year”, but sadly most of us drop these resolutions within the first thirty days of the year. One of the most popular resolutions that people make is to get organized. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) named January “Get Organized Month” or “GO Month” in 2003 with an initiative to help people with organization and productivity. According to NAPO, the bulk of their clients request help with organizing their home offices.

It’s safe to assume that clients are referring to paper clutter in the office. Paper Tiger Filing System Software is the perfect tool to help you be more organized, as well as be able to actually find things this year. Afterall, it is not enough to get your paper files and other things organized, but you also have to be able to retrieve what you need when you need it.

It’s all about taking the first steps to get started. The first step is making the commitment so that your life will begin to be less stressful and more productive. Before you know it, you’ll actually have more time for yourself.

Paper Tiger can help you keep your new year’s resolution to get organized in 2014!

Eliminate the frustration you experience every time you try to locate an important document and cannot find it amidst the disorganized mess acting as your “filing system.” We receive calls and emails all the time from people telling us that they have stacks and stacks of files that is causing more stress than it’s worth and need help getting organized. Paper Tiger Filing System software helps companies, non-profits, government agencies, professionals and individuals all over the world get control of something they hate…filing the paper on their desk & in their office, and can help with the life-cycle of document management. And since Paper Tiger is Not Just For Filing Paper, imagine all the other rooms of your home and office that you can get organized. Paper Tiger’s basic concepts will help you master the software in a matter of minutes; bringing your organization troubles to an end, making it easy to keep your resolution for the entire year.

Paper Tiger may be one of the best investments ever as far as time is concerned. How much time do you think you waste on average looking for something? Each year people waste hours and entire days looking for something. Experts estimate that people waste 150 hours per year searching for lost items. Calculate your cost of disorganized here. A small investment in Paper Tiger will save not only time, but also money. How many times have you paid a bill late, because you lost it? Every time a document is filed and indexed  into Paper Tiger, you can feel sure that you will be able to find it again quickly and easily.  The days of trying to figure out where a document was left or what name it was filed under are over! With Paper Tiger’s search engine like feature, type in a few keywords when you file documents, will help you find exactly the document needed with a quick search when you need to retrieve it.

If getting organized was at the top of your New Year’s resolution list, look no further; Paper Tiger is here to help. Its resourceful system will be so easy to use, it will be hard to stop organizing! The ability to organize paper files and other physical items, will not only clear up clutter on your desk, but also anything that you can put a number onto.

During this “Get Organized Month,” take advantage of the expertise of one of the productivity consultants that are Paper Tiger experts who can help you work more efficiently in every area of your life. They will work with you either virtually or in-person, whichever you need, and will help you to get organized and create a customized system for the way you work.

Reduce the stress and anxiety you are probably feeling without even realizing it from having your home or office in disarray. Make this year the year you completely organize your life. All the time and money wasted from disorganization will be returned on your simple investment in Paper Tiger, and you’ll be able to keep at least one new year’s resolution.


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This article by Kathy Paauw of Paauwerfully Organized gives us some things to think about and gives some great tips to help make decisions for more life balance.

For many people the holiday season represents a lot of stress and overwhelm, instead of making the most of life balance. It does not have to be that way! I published an article two years ago that generated positive feedback, so I am sharing it with you again: Seven Tips to Save Time and Reduce Holiday Stress.

Are You Living in The Present and Making the Most of Life Balance?

This month I invite you to take a look at two areas of your life…time and material possessions. These two are closely related, as it seems that many people work harder so they can afford to buy more things. The bigger question is, do all of these things make us any happier, or are we just senselessly working ourselves into a state of overwhelm and fatigue by doing more so we can have more?

If you are feeling fatigued, some restful time is in order. It’s hard to even think straight when you are fatigued. Fatigue is the number one sign that we are not managing our energy well. Without energy, we burn out and cannot do our best work. Signs of burnout include feeling chronically tired, depressed, irritable, sluggish, bored, poor memory, and craving foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat. With fatigue often comes poor eating habits and inadequate exercise. If this pattern is maintained over time, health problems appear.

Are you in the habit of bringing work home with you or doing work-related activities while taking vacation time? If so, what’s pushing you to work so hard? What would it take for you to give yourself permission to leave work at work and enjoy some free time…maybe even take a true vacation?

The word vacation comes from the word vacate: to withdraw from occupancy, surrender possession, or relinquish.  For some, “vacating” from work can be difficult.  If you’ve ever found yourself spending vacation time reading email, checking for voice messages at work, or conducting business from afar, then you’ve been remotely sucked back into the office.  Your body may be on vacation, but your brain is still back at work!  And that’s time you’re not spending with your family/friends or truly relaxing and letting go.  As one who sometimes struggles with “letting go,” I speak from a voice of experience..

Studies have found that working more hours does not necessarily increase productivity. Note how much vacation or work time is mandated in several European countries, where productivity can be just as high (if not higher) than with counterparts working 40+ hours a week for 50 weeks a year:

  • Finland legally mandates 40 days/year of paid time off (30 days of vacation plus 10 paid federal holidays).
  • Germany considers 27.8 hours to be a full workweek.  Anything over that is considered “overtime.”
  • The Netherlands considers 27.6 hours to be a full workweek.  Anything over that is considered “overtime.”  Workers also receive 16 weeks of maternity leave at full pay.

As an American, I have observed an interesting phenomenon. My grandparents came from an era where one parent typically stayed home to raise the children, prepare meals, and run the household, while the other parent worked outside the home to earn a living. Both had full-time “jobs” but only one got paid for it. Many people did not own a car, and if they did, one car per family was a luxury.  Fast forward one generation.  My parents both worked outside the home so we could enjoy a higher standard of living. Instead of one car, we had two (eventually three).  We lived in a nice home, went on nice vacations, and we owned a lot of nice “stuff.” That being said, my family of origin was not very happy much of the time.

In 1900, the average person owned two pairs of shoes and two or three pairs of pants. All personal possessions could fit inside of one small suitcase. Here we are 100+ years later, and we’re spending more money on self-storage to house our overflow of “stuff” than we spend on the movie industry. The stress of working hard to acquire all that “stuff” took its toll on my father, and he had a fatal heart attack back in 1981 at the age of 47.

I am not suggesting that women should stay home and raise babies, or that there’s anything wrong with a two-income family. I have been a career woman my whole life and I would not want it any other way. I am also not suggesting that there is anything wrong with owning nice things and going on vacations. What I am suggesting is that each of us look at our own life/balance issues and decide what’s most important and what we need to adjust to have a healthy balance between work and play.

If you have been trading time for money and you are feeling chronically stressed and unfulfilled, it’s time for you to identify ways to change that. Eight years ago I decided to make some adjustments that enabled me to leverage my time so I could enjoy life more.

Many people believe that having more money so they can buy more “stuff” will increase happiness. Having spent volunteer time in poor villages in Mexico and Tanzania, I can tell you that as long as basics are covered (adequate food, shelter, clothing, and health care), people can be very happy and fulfilled with few material possessions.

In my work as a Life Coach, I have become increasingly aware of the growing sense that many individuals feel like they’re running as fast as possible but not getting where they want to go. There is something resting at the core of all of this–the lens through which we view our lives–also known as a paradigm.

Old paradigm: DO so you can HAVE so you can BE.
New paradigm: BE so you can DO so you can HAVE.

The old paradigm subscribes to the belief that what we HAVE determines who we will BE. Some of my happiest and most fulfilled clients are those who HAVE very little money and earthly possessions. And some of my most unhappy and unfulfilled clients have been those who HAVE an abundance of money and material goods.

Happiness and fulfillment is not created by material wealth or possessions — what we HAVE — but rather by who we are BEING and what we are DOING. I’m not suggesting that we all take a vow of poverty. There’s nothing wrong with HAVING things. The problems arise when we sacrifice who we are BEING for the sake of HAVING more. When we do that, we will never HAVE enough.

This year Black Friday sales started earlier than I can ever remember. Some started at 6 AM on Thanksgiving Day! Merchants are rushing to entice people to buy early and get the best deals, so they can buy even more “stuff.” Does that bring us happiness and fulfillment, or does it just add stress and create a greater sense of overwhelm during the holiday season?

Here’s an idea! As you are shopping for someone who already has a lot of “stuff,” consider giving an Alternative Gift. A number of charities offer gift catalogs of things you can “purchase” through them so they can better serve those in need. With recent hurricanes and tornadoes, there are many people in need, and an Alternative Gift can save you time and stress, provide a thoughtful way to honor someone you care about, and help those in need.

The following International charities will provide you with a card that you can give to the person you gave the Alternative Gift in honor of, or they will send them something to let them know that you gave a gift to their charity in honor of them. If you are not familiar with a local charity offering Alternative Gift ideas, here are links to some gift catalogs from a few International charities that are doing some wonderful work:

Here’s my year-end gift to you. Time is something that gives all of us a level playing field. We all get 168 hours a week. How you choose to invest that time will determine a great deal for your future. There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Make every second count! Time waits for no one. Click here to watch a powerful three minute video about the value of time.

Wishing you a blessed, peaceful, and heart-centered holiday season.

Are You Ready to Get Organized to Help Your Life Balance?
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Are you already organized or do you need to get organized before the busyness of the next couple of months go in full swing? Yes, it’s that time of year again, already! Time to get the house spruced up for the fall and winter holidays that you and your family recognize and celebrate. Fall and/or Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years! That’s a lot of decorating and celebration within just a couple of months. With the holiday season upon us, decorations are becoming an everyday sight. Are your decorations organized in 1 or 2 boxes or stuffed wherever you could find room last year? Is the Christmas tree in a box never to be found again in the attic? Do you dread wasting hours untangling lights?

It can be a chore when trying to locate where you have certain decorations stored when it seems some are in the garage, some are in the attic and some have made their way into the basement. Or you may have them all tangled together just to keep them all in one place. The problem is, this big tangled mess can cause damage to the seasonal décor you have stored. This may even make you so frustrated that you opt to forgo adding any holiday cheer to your home or lawn altogether.

According to IBISWorld, Americans spent 13.34 billion dollars on holiday decorations and costumes alone in 2010. Can you envision how much that number has grown since then? Year after year, we purchase more and more decorations in addition to the ones we already have. The countless ornaments and lights could take up a lot of space in your garage or attic and become quite pricey. But, what if there was a way to put the fun back in decorating AND save yourself from becoming another shopping statistic? What if you knew exactly which box your favorite set of Christmas candles were?

The important thing really is to use a filing system software like Paper Tiger to keep track of what you own, what you are storing and where it is being stored so that the items can be easily and quickly retrieved when you need them. Indexing your items into Paper Tiger filing system will ensure that you know exactly where these things are, before you end up buying duplicates of something because you can’t find the original. Documenting or indexing your belongings also helps other people who may need to retrieve things for you. With a quick search in the software database, anyone will be able to find an item and also know where it should be placed when it needs to go back to the storage location.

Getting Organized Now For Your Holiday Decorations!

Now you can get organized with Paper Tiger Filing System Software and know where everything is with a simple search in the database. As the seasons and holidays change, so can your home, with less stress.

You might have thought Paper Tiger was just for paper! But actually, you can index virtually any physical object into your Paper Tiger database. You can still win 1st prize in the Homeowner Association’s best-decorated home contest without buying new decorations each year, because you can find what you already have without a lot of stressful searching. Paper Tiger allows you to give each set of holiday decorations a home of its own.

Imagine if you found all the decorations you’ve purchased for each holiday, each year in one place. Imagine no more! Not only will all the decorations be right where you left them next holiday season neatly packed away, but also the combination of all the decorations will allow you to be really innovative when decorating next year. Maybe take the stockings you’ve accumulated over the years and form a mixed pattern above the fireplace. No fireplace? Use decorative ribbon as a bed for glass ornaments in a fruit bowl as a centerpiece in the dining room for a jovial meal. Before you run rampant with all the new decorating ideas, let’s organize the decorations.

-First check every nook and cranny of your house for decorations. Take your flashlight in the attic with you. Gather the decorations so that you can begin to sort them.
-Then, sort the decorations by their various holidays. Santa and his reindeer, the Thanksgiving harvest table kit and pastel plastic Easter eggs should all go in separate piles. If you don’t already have storage boxes or containers, grab a couple from your local retailer to organize your items.

After you have all holiday decorations separated into the appropriate pile, add Paper Tiger to the equation. Choose both a physical location and a Paper Tiger location for your decorations. The decorations have trickled into four piles; Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter & Memorial Day. So name a ‘location’ in Paper Tiger to match each holiday that you are organizing. You can then create labels from Paper Tiger software with numbers for you to attach to each of these boxes. Type the keywords in Paper Tiger’s database to match the items you put into each box to help you easily find decorations later with a quick search in the database search engine. For example, we might not remember that we named the bin with “Fall Decorations” under “Thanksgiving”, but if we put “Thanksgiving” or “turkey” or “fall” in the search bar, Paper Tiger will search the database based on what we’ve input previously, and let us know which box or boxes we need to pull out. Following are the fields in Paper Tiger as an example:

Location = Decorations

Item#1 Name = Thanksgiving Box 1
Keywords = Fall decorations, I’m thankful plate, thankful placemats, turkey napkin holders, pilgrim man and woman, small plastic pumpkins, candles, candle holders, Thanksgiving harvest table kit

Item#2 Name = Thanksgiving Box 2
Keywords = cornucopia basket, silk flowers, Fall door wreath

Item#3 Name = Thanksgiving Box 3
Keywords = Fall theme blankets and throw pillows

Item#4 Name = Christmas Box 1
Keywords = small tree

Item#5 Name = Christmas Box 2
Keywords = small tree decoration items, balls, bells, garland

Item#6 Name = Christmas Box 3
Keywords = large tree for living room

Item#7 Name = Christmas Box 4
Keywords = large tree decoration items, balls, bells, garland, bows, doves

It will take a little effort to get things in order to begin with, but once you invest this initial work into the project, your holiday decorating will be easy as can be for each occasion. With Paper Tiger Filing System Software, the decorations are stored and the disarray that once consumed and cluttered your space is replaced with the joys of the holiday season. Paper Tiger will help preserve the life of your decorations, because they will always be stored away neatly instead of mixed in with everything else in the top of a closet. Money will be saved because you’ll know what you have, and the efforts of searching for decorations will be swapped with a few strokes on a keyboard. Never worry about holiday decorations scattered throughout the house again, but know and embrace what you have and build upon it with creative new twists because you took the time to get organized.

If getting organized before the holidays is too much to think about now, make plans to get organized as you’re putting the decorations away!


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Do you have trouble finding your stuff?

Paper Tiger Filing System Software can help you get organized in more than just paper files so you won’t have trouble finding anything. Getting storage areas organized may seem even more of a daunting task than tackling your paper files, but it can be rewarding and help to declutter your life. Even if you already have your boxes stored in an organized manner, you may not remember what is in each one. In fact, you can index any physical item that you can put a number onto. You can get organized, not have to worry about putting things away, and you’ll be able to find them again!

You may have things in an attic, a garage, a basement, a storage shed on your property and some belongings in a rented storage unit. One of the biggest problems people have with their belongings is not even knowing what they have. So, if you are looking for a particular tool and cannot find it, you may end up buying another one and wasting money. People invest a good deal of money into certain things they may only use once in a while, but when you need it, you should be able to locate it.

Organizing Storage Areas with Finding in Mind

The best thing to do for organized living is to get an idea of what you need access to on a regular basis. You will need to decide what items you don’t want to keep in the house, or no longer have room for, and what can be stored in the basement, attic or storage building. You may want to take one room at a time to pull out things that should be stored. Then when you’re boxing the items to be stored, index them into your Paper Tiger database. Filing system software works great for this, because you can inventory and index what you actually have in the location you decide for storage, and what storage box or shelf the item is located. Then when it comes time for finding an item, you can simply conduct a quick Google-like search in your Paper Tiger database and know exactly where it is located. This will save you countless hours, because you won’t have to sift through everything before finding the needed item.

Box up smaller loose items and mark the box with a number. If you use Paper Tiger filing system software, you can keep track of what is in each of those boxes. You won’t have to sift through tons of boxes looking for that one particular thing if you know from your inventoried list which box number to find it in. Each box would represent an Item number in your Paper Tiger database, and the keywords would be the items in the box.

Keep items that you use the most close to the entry doors of the storage area and the rest can get packed in neatly. Take care to avoid storing anything that may not hold up well to weather issues, if possible. These types of items, or those you don’t use often but want to keep, will need to be stored in-house or can go to a climate-controlled offsite storage area.

The important part really is to use Paper Tiger filing system software to keep track of what you own, what you are storing and where it is being stored. Indexing your items into this filing system will ensure that you know exactly where these things are, before you end up buying another one because you can’t find the original.

Documentation of your belongings also helps other people who may need to gain access to things for you. If you want an organized life, organizing storage areas is a great way to declutter your home and life.

How to Organize With Paper Tiger to Make Finding a Snap

There are so many uses for Paper Tiger because it is not just a filing system for your paper files, but can index any physical item. It would not be easy to give examples for everything, but we will give a couple of examples here that will hopefully give you the general idea. Just know that if you can imagine being able to put a number onto whatever type of item that you want to inventory or index, you can let your imagination run.

Example:  Shelves in Garage

  1. You can name a Location in Paper Tiger named ‘Garage Shelves’. I’m going to use the example pictured above.
  2. Print out labels from the database to be affixed to the boxes or plastic tubs on your shelves. (Labels will be numbered like Garage Shelves 1, Garage Shelves 2, Garage Shelves 3, Garage Shelves 4, etc.)
  3. For box #1, click on Add Item in Paper Tiger Garage Shelves Location. (when you add an item, Paper Tiger will assign a number to that item, so in this case Garage Shelves 1.)
  4. Enter Keywords for all contents in box #1, such as blankets, pink flower cushions, sheet set, shelf 1, 1st row. Going down the shelves, box #2, click Add Item, then add keywords for all contents in box #2, shelf 1, 2nd row. Continue for each box. If you’d also like to assign an item # to things not in a box or tub, you can do that. You can also type in the shelf location for a keyword, such what I did here: shelf 1, 1st row.
  5. Match Label Numbers and Item Names: Make sure the label number you affix to each box (or item not in a box) matches what you input for the Item Name/keywords in Paper Tiger.

Example:  Boxes of Seasonal Decorations

  1. If you want to keep all of your decorations together, you can name a Location in Paper Tiger ‘Decorations’ and say you have 5 boxes of seasonal decorations, so your Location capacity would be 5. In the description for the Location, you can input where you will store your boxes of decorations, such as ‘Decorations are stored in Basement on 2nd from top shelf of Shelf 1 of 2′, or if you have as many as 5 boxes, it might be ‘Decorations are stored in Basement on first 3 shelves from top of Shelf 1 of 2′.
  2. Print out labels from the database to be affixed to the 5 boxes.
  3. Enter Item Name for each theme of decorations that you have, i.e., Christmas or Thanksgiving or Spring. Click on Add Item, and when you add an item, Paper Tiger will assign a number to that box. In this example, box #1 item name might be ‘Spring’, box #2 item name might be ‘Thanksgiving’, box #3 item name might be ‘Christmas’, etc.
  4. Enter Keywords for each theme, such as in box #1, your Spring items might include a spring flag, bunnies, tablecloth and picnic items.
  5. Match Label Numbers and Item Names: Make sure the label number you affix to each box matches the decoration theme that you input for the Item Name/keywords in Paper Tiger.

Watch this webinar hosted by Meggin McIntosh that shows how she organizes her paper files and the boxes of training material in her storage facility with Paper Tiger: http://www.thepapertiger.com/blog/paper-tiger-webinar-hosted-meggin-mcintosh/

See other great ideas from our Not Just For Filing Paper webpage!

Using Paper Tiger filing system, you can have a place for everything, and finding your stuff doesn’t have to be a worry!




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Filing systems and document retention is a living, breathing, evolving science. Each year brings changes and new challenges in the needs for document filing and retention requirements and guidelines.

Governments, organizations and businesses struggle to keep up with the ever changing flow of paperwork. Paperless systems are implemented and on average fail, because systems are not followed by everyone. Some people just have to print! Fear of loss and over taxed workloads hinder progress as the paperless war wages with the influx of scanner systems. The looming questions of what to retain and for how long, continue to consume untold resources for both paper and digital files.

With the onset of electronic communication, even more retention guideline planning is becoming necessary. Everything must be backed up from fragile devices to even more fragile devices and possibly backed up to a cloud-based back up system. Record retention guidelines need to be determined for electronic or digital files, as well as paper files.

Where do you begin to determine how to implement a system of document retention guidelines?

First you have to decide what paper files to keep and how long to keep them. Begin by determining the purpose for retaining each document type. From the IRS website: How Long to Keep Records. The IRS (or your specific country government tax related organization) has updated information regarding how to keep records and how long to keep them for tax purposes. You can use this information as a guideline when planning your policy for document retention and how long to keep records, however you should always consult your accountant before getting rid of any financial records and consult your attorney before getting rid of any legal records for advice on the length of time specific documents are legally required to retain.

After the legally required time has been determined to keep each type of document, guidelines need to be documented so that everyone can follow the policy that has been set. You won’t have to guess every year what can be tossed or what has to be kept. It is important that everyone strictly follow the company guidelines, which should be determined by the legal requirements as stated above, because it can be just as legally damaging if a document is kept past the required time period.

With a simplified filing system such as Paper Tiger in place, this becomes an easy task. Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management can help you get your records in order and then be able to find them when you need them! You can use the Action Date function to remind you when you need to take action on records, including when you need to move them out of the current year’s hanging file folders to an archived location, and then when you can purge them out of your files altogether. You can also note in Paper Tiger’s database how long you need to keep each file even if it is indefinite. Paper Tiger also has a report entitled File Cleanout Report that is helpful when moving documents from file cabinets to an archived location. Decision should be made when files are archived as to if and when they should be destroyed. Archived boxes should be marked as to when they should be destroyed.

According to N&K, CPAs, “The answer varies depending on firm policies and the type of files. Generally, the files should be kept as long as they serve a useful purpose or until all legal and regulatory requirements are met. Businesses often base how long they keep files on the length of the statute of limitations for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and professional liability claims. The statutes, of course vary with each state.”

And here is another example of a record retention guide published by the Massachusetts Society of CPAs: http://www.cpa.net/resources/retengde.pdf

Even more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document_retention

Litigation

With lawsuits and public scrutiny becoming increasingly popular, the need to substantiate actions with physical proof has grown dramatically. Notes and emails, which were once discarded, are now needed to prove the validity of corporate and government decisions. Subordinates should consider retaining any correspondence from superiors that may point to the rationale behind their decisions.

Client Records

Many businesses base their customer retention on superior customer service. This includes maintaining easy access to copies of client records. Clients, just like the businesses that serve them, have the same problems as large corporations with document retention, and often find it simpler to request another copy of documentation from its source than to keep it on file, or to locate that file. Determining which documents are most often requested, as well as their age, will simplify the process of creating client record retention guidelines.

Financial Documentation

Financial documentation is retained for a multitude of reasons, taxes, efficiency, profitability, growth, tracking, accounting, etc., guidelines as to their storage location must be determined. Financial documentation must often be reassigned a new location with the passing of time. While this may seem futile, an indexing system such as Paper Tiger filing system software makes the process simple.

Accountability

Almost all documentation falls under the category of proving accountability. Once the purpose of accountability for each document has been determined, it will be easier to decide on its association and to create a retention guideline. The value of accountability proof of many documents is not worth their retention; however, they may have many other uses.

Once the retention purpose for each document type has been established, its retention life and location can be determined. While document retention and creation of guidelines may seem overwhelming and even futile, an innovative indexing system such as Paper Tiger, allows companies to maintain their hard copy files and achieve near paperless efficiency, while providing the ability to adapt with the ever-evolving science of document retention.

It isn’t necessary to discard old files to implement an updated filing system, however with the motivation to get organized after determining a document retention guideline specifically related to how you work, you might find yourself clearing some clutter from your file cabinets. By implementing the perfect indexing tool of Paper Tiger filing system software, a higher level of filing efficiency and document retention can be achieved, and you’ll also be able to find what you need, when you need it!


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