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.
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Clutter, Declutter, document management software, document management system, filing system software, get organized, Organized, paper filing systems, Paper Tiger "finding" filing system, Productivity