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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.

Organizing Mistakes You May Be Making

Organization is a major issue that many people face in both their homes and offices. If you have a filing system in place and are filing your paper documents, but you still can’t find anything, you may be making one of following mistakes that keep you from being as productive and efficient as you could be. With Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management, you can get organized quickly by indexing and filing the physical documents.

Keep in mind that being able to retrieve the files you need later is crucial. You will be rewarded with saving time and less stress for taking the time to index your paper files into Paper Tiger, because you’ll be able to find any file at the time you need it simply by searching the keyword that you input into the database previously. Paper Tiger’s flexible keyword indexing system frees users from dependence on others to locate files. So in an office environment, whether small or large business, you can avoid the dreaded disaster of not being able to find what you need when your staff takes vacation or is out of the office for other reasons.

Read on to find out what not to do when organizing your filing system.

  1. Not Filing – Not filing is a big mistake. Building ‘project stacks’ can get overwhelming, and messy! If you’re like most people, the projects keep coming, and if you don’t take time to file, the stacks will keep building. Also, using a ‘To File’ stack doesn’t work to your advantage if you hardly ever file. When it’s out of hand, it will take even longer to file than it should. Deal with what comes into your office on a regular basis. Make a decision to either toss/shred it, act on it, or file it. 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 your desk will look more professional. You will feel better and more organized.
  2. Hoarding – Do you think you need to file EVERY piece of paper that comes in? According to experts, 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?” Should I keep this for tax or legal reasons? If your answer to these questions are negative, shred or throw the paper away.
  3. Printing everything If you don’t really need a print copy, don’t print it. If you print it, you’ll most likely want to file it. Only file it if you can’t search to find it electronically later.
  4. Overstuffing/Not purging – Every once in a while, (at least annually), you need to go through your files and get rid of what you no longer need. An overstuffed file will only overwhelm and complicate your filing system, and can be costly if you need to purchase more file cabinet space. Overstuffed file cabinets will also deter you from filing, so your filing cabinets will begin to look as bad as your stacks of files. 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.
  5. Using Paper Clips or Rubber Bands – Paper clips can leave a tangled mess of paper files 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 in a related file than you can staple, consider using dividers such as manilla folders.
  6. 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, or find a relating file to place the miscellaneous document in or trash it; simple as that. Refer to #2 above.
  7. Hanging file folder tabs – Placement of hanging file folder tabs can cause you to put off filing especially if you’re filing alphabetically and want your tabs to stay consistent in alignment. Depending on your preference for placing tabs on hanging file folders – 1 left-1 right or 5 tabs across – when you need to add a new file with alphabetical filing, you have to worry about adjusting tabs to stay consistent. However, when using Paper Tiger, this is not a concern because your hanging file folder tabs are numbered, starting with 1 for each ‘location‘ in the database you create, and these numbered tabs never change. Each numbered hanging file folder tab will correlate to the item number in your Paper Tiger database. When you need to move or trash a file, update your Paper Tiger database to reflect what you’re doing with that file, then that file folder and the correlating item number in Paper Tiger, becomes empty, ready for the next new document you need to file.
  8. Not using Paper Tiger – Are you having to open drawer after drawer because you can’t remember what name you’ve filed something under? You file something under a particular name one day, but then 2 weeks or 6 months later when you need to retrieve it, you might think you filed it under another name. With Paper Tiger, you never have to worry about what to name a file or creating a file name that is specific enough so everyone in the office can find it. The keyword section allows you to type in as many ‘file names’ as you think you might need to be able to conduct a keyword search and find the document again when you need it. Additional keywords can be added later, as well. See Customize Your Filing System With Paper Tiger’s Indexing Method for help getting started.

By avoiding these filing mistakes, you will be more organized and you will be able to more easily maintain your office. Your organizing system paired with Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management will keep your files organized and help you quickly find exactly what you need.

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