Paper Tiger Blog


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

A guide to converting to The Paper Tiger

The time it takes to convert your piles and files is justified!

Does converting your files to ‘The Paper Tiger way’ seem overwhelming? Do you have an office full of stacks and stacks of paper to be filed and lots of file drawers to convert?

There is an investment of time to set up your new file system with The Paper Tiger, but when you consider that the average person wastes 150 hours per year looking for lost and misplaced papers, even if it took two (8 hour) days to convert …that would be 16 hours vs. 150 hours. The investment of time is well worth it because you will be so much more productive for years to come.

The Paper Tiger actually makes filing easier and quicker to do once you have it set up, because you set up the empty hanging files prior to filing (a file labeled with a number can be labeled ahead of time) so they are waiting empty in the file drawer to receive your paper files. So when you’re ready to file, you don’t have to search for a hanging folder nor do you have to create a printed label at the time you create a new file.

Listed below are some plans of action.

  • Block off a couple of workdays and get it over with. Plan ahead and make sure that you have an assistant; anyone who can type to enter the data you relay to them will make the file conversion go much more quickly. Go ahead and input the numbered tabs into your hanging folders (files you already have set up in your desk drawers and file cabinets, and new hanging folders for new files.) You tell your assistant which words to enter into the database for Item Name, Keywords, and Category starting with #1 and forward. Then, you can put the papers into the appropriate numbered file.  This will also be a good time to decide file retention for each file and use the Action Date section to remind you to archive or trash after a pre-determined amount of time.
  • Converting will be more difficult without an assistant, but it can be done.
  • We suggest starting with the papers on your desk. Make a decision for every piece of paper.
  • Throw away what you can do without (if you can toss all the paper in your life and find it later on the Internet or get it from someone else, recycle!)
  • Does the paper require Action? If so, decide which action and file appropriately. Use the handy Action tabs that come with your shipment or printed from Paper Tiger to help you decide how to file Action items! You may also want to set up a daily and/or monthly follow up system to help you with dated items, which you should check daily.
  • If you want to keep for later reference and it doesn’t require action, place in stack to file (or tray labeled ‘To File’)
  • Next, go to your desk drawers. If you’ve already input the numbered tabs in your hanging folders, you’re ready to type into Paper Tiger the item name and keywords for each file.

Note: If your hanging file folder has several items that you want to include into 1 Item Name in Paper Tiger, you would simply add keywords for all document items into the Keyword section of the same Item Name. In addition, you may want to separate the physical documents in the hanging file folder with manilla folders. In this case, you might also want to number the manilla folders and include the number that you input on the manilla folder with the coinciding keywords in the Keyword section.

  • Go to your file cabinets next, one drawer at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be done!
  • If blocking off complete days will not work for you, commit to doing a certain number of files per day. So if you had 150 files to convert and you said you would do 10 a day, in 15 days you would have it done. If you do this, you need to schedule the time in your calendar to do the conversion and then be disciplined about keeping these appointments with yourself.

Do a combination of the above in some way that will work for you. Decide on the most important sections of your files and convert them immediately. Then you commit to a couple of hours a week or 1 drawer a day until the rest is done…whatever works for you. Statistically, 80% of our existing files are never referenced again, so as you are going through each file, and you know you haven’t referenced a file for several months (and probably won’t again,) decide if you can toss it or if it needs to be archived. If it needs to be archived, put the file in the last drawer to be converted. When you get to that drawer, you can create a location called Archive within Paper Tiger, input the file item name and keywords in that Archive location, then box the file to be sent to wherever you send archived files.

Also, you don’t have to add keywords for every piece of paper in a file if the file name contains the only word(s) you would ever look up to find it. (ex: invoices)

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “A guide to converting to The Paper Tiger”

  1. Albert Gilson says:

    Allpresent files have numerical tabs. Can program handle sequential numbers from 001 to 2000 instead of providing new Tabs . Ex: Action 1

  2. Albert,

    Yes! All you would need to do is to create a location with 2000 folders, and you will have the ability to go through each entry and enter the information exactly where you want it to go! Let me know if you have any more questions.

    The Paper Tiger Team

  3. [...] Q: I have 20 years of files, reports, binders, etc…any advice on the very first thing that I should do to get started?  I have bought the desktop version, think it will be the answer to my prayers….just not sure where the best to start would be. A: See our blog posts at Customize Your Filing System with Paper Tiger’s Indexing Method and at A Guide to Converting to Paper Tiger. [...]

Leave a Reply

1 + = seven

Email Newsletter

Post Categories