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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.

Six Filing System Mistakes You Might Be Making

If you have a filing system in place and are filing your paper documents, but you still feel unorganized, you may be making one of six crucial filing mistakes that deter you from maximum organization. With Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management, you can get the ball rolling quickly by indexing and filing the physical documents. Read on to find out what not to do when organizing your filing system.

  1. Overstuffing – Are your file folders tearing at the edges? Every once in a while, you may need to go through your files and get rid of any files you no longer need. An overstuffed file will only overwhelm and complicate your filing system. The easier it is, the more organized you will be and the more you will maintain. Overstuffed file cabinets will also deter you from filing, so your stacks of files look as bad as your filing cabinet. Read our article To Shred or Not to Shred to help you determine what you should or should not get rid of. Use Paper Tiger’s File Cleanout Report to help you decide what needs to be tossed or moved to an archive location.
  2. Hoarding – Do you find a way to file EVERY piece of paper that crosses your path? According to one of our Paper Tiger Experts, Sherry Borsheim, eighty percent of what we file, we never refer to again. Therefore, really think about how much you need to keep a document before filing it. Before filing ask yourself, “Why will I need to refer back to this?” If you can’t answer that question, shred or throw the paper away.
  3. Using Paper Clips or Rubber Bands – Paper clips can leave a tangled mess of paper work and clutter instead of organizing when the clips catch on other files in the same folder, and they take up more room than necessary. Have you ever seen what happens to an old rubber band? Either the temperature, light or oxygen over time will cause the rubber band to break, essentially defeating it’s purpose! To keep papers together, staple them instead. If you have more papers than you can staple, consider downsizing or separating the stack.
  4. Creating a Miscellaneous File – This “to-do” file or random file should always be avoided if possible. As a matter of fact, this file is likely to be mostly trash anyway if you aren’t sure what to do with it or where to place it. You can always create a new file for some of these documents if you think you will have other related documents. Take the time to create a new file, find a file to place the miscellaneous document in or trash it; simple as that. With Paper Tiger, you never have to worry about what to name a file, because the keyword section allows you to input as many ‘file names’ as you think you might need to be able to search and find the document again.
  5. Using Broad Categories – Are you really going to remember that you created a file entitled, “Car”? Which one? Paper Tiger Filing System works perfectly for categories because you create keywords in the database that help you remember. When filing physical documents, use these same keywords from Paper Tiger to help you. Find the balance between too simple and over complicated when creating these files.
  6. Not Filing – Not filing is a big mistake. Building ‘project stacks’ can get overwhelming! If you’re like most people, the projects keep coming, and if you don’t take time to file, the stacks will keep building. Then it’s out of hand, and will take even longer to file than it should. Experts tell us to take just 15 minutes at the end of every day to file away what needs to be filed. You will have less clutter, and you will know what you need to work on the next day. You will feel more organized and so much better.

By avoiding these filing mistakes, your organizing system paired with Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management will keep your files organized and help you find exactly what you need faster.

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2 Responses to “Six Filing System Mistakes You Might Be Making”

  1. I absolutely must tell you that these are EXCELLENT ideas! I am and will be continuing to “whittle down” my file contents…You are right, most of the time, I do not need to retrieve the actual paper document. I find that it is just as easy to set up a system where I can type in a website, and information for easy retrieval. I’ve been using this system for a while now, and having MS, this is perfect for me. Typing I can still do, even when handwriting is more difficult. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  2. Janet Baker says:

    Thanks Cheryl, for your comment! So glad to hear that we are helping! Take care….Janet

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