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.
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
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.
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 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.
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!
This article by Meggin McIntosh, “The Ph.D. of Productivity”™ and a Paper Tiger Expert, will help you think through steps to purge your filing cabinets and get your filing system under control! Meggin also recommends Paper Tiger. Click here to check out Meggin’s webinar that will help you better understand Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management to be able to use the software more effectively and see how you can get organized in every area of your life — not just paper filing! Meggin does an awesome job in showing you pictures of all of the different things she has organized and relating those items back to what she has indexed in Paper Tiger.
Are your filing cabinets overly full? Below are some tips that Meggin sent to a consulting client who had incredibly (overly) full filing cabinets. Don’t forget to update your Paper Tiger database to update the items indexed to match what is in your filing cabinets, and you might think about using the File Cleanout Report to help you. (see example of File Cleanout Report below)
1. Choose one drawer to start with and just start with the very first file in that drawer. Do not start working on another drawer until you have gone through all of the first place you started.
2. Set aside a certain amount of time everyday, for example, 30 minutes of uninterrupted time, and go through as many files as you can in that time.
3. Just take the one file out of the drawer, put it on your desk, and do the following:
4. If you come to any files that are falling apart, have one of your assistants put things into a new file. It’s frustrating to pull files out that are just falling apart or frayed.
5. Just keep working through one file at a time…and my guess is that you will toss, shred, or archive half of what is currently in your office.
Remember….everyday, go through folders until you are down to the bare bones of what you need to keep in your filing cabinets.
And for more strategies and tips like these, you will want the Top Ten Productivity Tips – the Collection! which is available for immediate download!
Published with Permission (c) 2013 Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D. | The Ph.D. of Productivity(tm) | http://www.meggin.com
About Meggin McIntosh
Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D., “The Ph.D. of Productivity”(tm). Through her company, Emphasis on Excellence, Inc., Meggin McIntosh supports smart people who want to be more productive so that they can consistently keep their emphasis on excellence.
And to keep moving forward on your goals for more peaceful productivity, join others (worldwide) who receive Meggin’s weekly emails, and see what is available for download at no cost at any of MEGGIN’S WEBSITES:
http://meggin.com (Primary site)
Teachers are preparing to open the doors to their classrooms and parents are scrambling to purchase last minute school supplies. 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 you have to keep track of and be able to find when needed. As a teacher, you are likely to teach many different 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:
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.
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 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 eradicates 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. 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.
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 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)
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.
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.
Life can be very stressful. Now add your clutter and disorganization to the equation and it’s even worse. Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels by helping you get organized and virtually eliminating paper clutter. We’ve compiled a list of tasks that when combined with Paper Tiger are essential towards a less stressful life.
Before any organization can occur, you have to part with paper that you don’t necessarily need. Why are you holding on to last week’s grocery list? Do you really need that pile of junk mail? Surely, if you took the time to look at all the paper clutter that you’ve accumulated, you would throw a majority of it in the trash. Getting rid of the excess clutter is the first step towards reducing stress. A huge weight will be lifted as you throw away extra paper files that you don’t need.
Instead of creating a to-do later pile or getting in the habit of doing things later, get things out of the way. Don’t check the mail and toss it on the kitchen counter, sort through it while it’s on your mind so you don’t have the chance of building clutter piles. By making yourself do this and not procrastinating, you will greatly reduce stress.
In addition to being proactive, be tidy. When you are finished looking at a bill or a magazine, put it back where it belongs. Giving your paper items a home is yet another way to avoid clutter piles. By setting these boundaries and forcing yourself to make decisions in a timely manner, you are stopping clutter before it can accumulate.
For those paper files that you need to keep in hard copy format, you would simply index the item name and keywords relating to those documents into Paper Tiger’s database.
One hindrance to filing is finding a hanging file folder and the tab insert where you would put the name of the file. Then what to name the file is another problem. Files can be named different things, so what do you name each type of file so that you can remember when you need to retrieve the file to reference it again.
Paper Tiger solves these problems because the software allows you to set up all hanging file folders in your file cabinets at one time using the numbered tabs that you print out from the software and they never change. They stay in numbered order for that location in your database. You type in keywords relating to each document in Paper Tiger’s database digital file location matching the physical file location.
Paper Tiger assigns the file number to the document or set of relating documents that you want to put in the same hanging file folder. You can give the document any name you want without any worry about finding it later. For documents that you want to add to an existing file, simply edit the Item and add additional keywords necessary for the new document(s), then drop into that relating hanging file folder. 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)
Because the hanging file folders are already setup and waiting for your information, you eliminate the time-consuming hassle of having to find and create a file folder and insert tab each time you want to file something. Again, the software will assign an index number to each file you add to be put in the first available empty hanging folder.
After you’ve converted your filing system to Paper Tiger, you can file your paper files away, and no longer have to worry whether you will be able to find it again. When you need to find a file later, you simply conduct a Google-like search in the database for whatever keyword you’re thinking on that day to find where your file is located.
Paper Tiger is not just for filing paper. You can add other Locations in your database to organize other types of things. Some of these are described on our Not Just For Filing Paper page, which include but are certainly not limited to the following:
As you can see, you can get organized with Paper Tiger and reduce the stress of searching for the things you need, but also to clear away clutter.
Are you having a hard time parting with your clutter? Do you get an overwhelming feeling of dread when you think about starting to organize? If you feel like you are indecisive or simply just a hoarder, these questions will be helpful during organizing. Because Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management is not just for filing paper, using the software will also help you stay clutter free. You can ask yourself the following questions before you file with Paper Tiger.
Use these questions to help you figure out what you should keep or toss. Afterwards, use Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management to further organize by indexing the items so you can find what you need when you need it.
Working from home spares you a few daily frustrations, such as rush-hour traffic and inconsiderate coworkers. But, it’s still work, and it still comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s take a look at the latest technology that can help you thrive while working from home:
Working long hours helps you build your empire, but they’re also rough on your body. Extended sitting has been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic, and looking at a computer all day puts you at risk for developing ”computer vision syndrome,” WebMD reports.
Try some body-friendly technology to help avert these conditions. A treadmill desk gets you up and moving while you work, and Gunnar computer glasses are designed specifically to reduce eye fatigue and minimize eye damage.
Working from home demands having some source of payment. While PayPal and other online services might suffice, having the capability to accept credit card payments on the spot gives you more power over your business. This is where the Square gadget and service comes in.
Link your Square account to your bank account, plug the Square gadget into any iPhone or Android mobile device, run a credit card and the money is uploaded to your bank account in about two business days. Since cards can be keyed in, even online businesses that don’t see physical credit cards can use the service.
If the equipment you need for your livelihood is on site, it’s time for a household security upgrade. Automatic outdoor lighting, security cameras and an alarm system with a security service are vital to protecting your investment. You can explore the different security services available to you at www.SecurityCompanies.com.
While you hopefully have property insurance for your home or office, make sure it covers all those cool gadgets you’re adding to your business arsenal. Expensive equipment, like video cameras and instruments, often require insurance riders to be fully covered.
If you seem to get your best ideas while you’re making lunch or halfway out of your clothes and into the shower, a USB voice recorder saves you that frantic trip back to your desk. The compact device requires no additional connectors. Just plug into a USB port and pull your digital files onto your computer.
For those who prefer the old-school style of jotting ideas down as they flow, Ideapaint is wall paint with low VOC content, meaning you won’t be breathing in excess chemicals as you roll the paint onto the wall to create your own full-wall dry-erase board.
Stop messing with mountains of paperwork and ineffective filing systems. Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management helps you organize your entire office. Use it to index your hard-copy paper files by entering the relevant keywords into your Paper Tiger database. No more time wasted or hair-pulling while you try to remember where you placed what—you’ll be able to easily find the documents you need with one quick search.
The best way to declutter your home and your home office is to use Paper Tiger, which is not just for paper filing and document management because anything that you can put a number onto, you can index into Paper Tiger to help you get organized and to help your business thrive!
About the Author:
Brian Kane Brian is a computer science geek who loves to write about new programs.
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.
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.
The flowers are blooming and the birds are chirping, that can only mean one thing: It is springtime and with the spring comes spring-cleaning and organizing. With people working from home and diving into self-employment, home offices are quite common. It has been said that at least one in four households have a home office. When is the last time you organized your entire home office (besides when you initially moved in)? If you can’t answer this question, it’s time. With clutter on the kitchen counter, dining room table and other areas of the house, this article in particular is designated to getting the home office organized.
We know this isn’t a task that can be tackled in one day, but with Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management, these tips can help you make huge strides.
Optional: Since you are cleaning out your office, you might as well make sure that you are not storing documents that you no longer need or use. Your organizing system needs to be organized as well. (Surely you remember how you can’t be clean on the outside unless you’re clean on the inside). You can print the Paper Tiger File Clean-Out Guide to help you clean out papers from existing files. Also use the Transfer Report to help you physically move documents from one location to another so that your physical hanging file folders match what you have in Paper Tiger.
These are just steps to help you get started. Of course, depending on how much and how cluttered your home office is, it might be quite difficult to clean out your entire home office in one day. Completing one of these steps a day (in order of course) can ensure a clean and tidy office in a week. Remember to relax and take your time when cleaning your office. Don’t get overwhelmed in organizing your home office. You’ll be so proud, you will want to go from room to room. Happy Organizing!
Here at Paper Tiger, we’ve figured out that organization also comes from within, and we believe that you can train yourself to be more organized. Before you begin to use Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management or Digital Tiger, powered by Google Docs, you, try these ten tips that will help you form habits towards a more organized you.
Anne McGurty, a Paper Tiger Expert of Strategize and Organize, shares her top ten tips for using the Paper Tiger to get organized, work efficiently, and be more productive. Read on to see how a small investment in time implementing Paper Tiger Filing System Software can help you to simplify your life!
Did you know that the average executive spends six weeks per year retrieving or replacing lost documents? Naturally, it makes sense to create a system that is quick and easy so you can save that lost time. Here are some ideas to get it done now once you have Paper Tiger. If you don’t have Paper Tiger now, click this link to get started. Here are the top ten tips I recommend:
1. Look at the “hot spot of files”. You know the pile that seems the most urgent and makes your stomach churn every time you look at it. Take the paperwork and make a decision on each piece and separate into four piles:
a. Reference: those items you need, just not right now
b. Action: current projects, ongoing projects
c. Toss: you know where those are going
d. Timed: you need these on a specific date
2. When deciding on whether to file something or throw it away, ask yourself how difficult would it be to find this information again? Does it have any legal or financial ramifications if you were to throw it away? If you can live with the answer of throwing it away after those thoughts, let it go.
3. Set up the Paper Tiger Filing System Software and Document Management, an indexing system that works like a search engine for paper files to help you get organized and stay organized. It’s essentially creating an inventory for all of your files.
4. Use names that you will be able to recall easily. The obvious file names that you’ve used in the past. Then the interesting thing with Paper Tiger is that you will also be able to add keywords into the database so that any name you think of when you need to find a file, the software will be able to tell you where it is in seconds. So in the case of “Auto” the item name would be “Ford Explorer”, and in the keywords section, you would input the name of the company, i.e., “Vehicle, Car”, possible the name of the dealer, the service person’s name, etc., and you might use “Personal” in the Category section.
5. Oftentimes, people receive notices of an event and they never know what to do with the postcard. Set up a monthly filing system (a Tickler File) to keep track of when to throw them away. Create 12 hanging file folders, one for each month. As you rsvp or pull the information for “dress code” or directions. When the day rolls around, you can retrieve it for a reminder. This will ensure that you never miss an event or an expiration date on an rsvp or offer.
6. When sorting through paper files, make a decision. If you’re not in a decision-making mood, have a place set up for “unprocessed paperwork.” Then when you’re ready, if you need to take action, do it now or place it in the appropriate action file. If someone else needs to attend to it, give it to them. If it is something to reference later on, index the appropriate keywords into Paper Tiger and add it to the corresponding reference hanging file. Putting it back in the pile to address later is no longer an option for you as an organized person.
7. When you have a lot of tasks to do for the day, quickly sort the tasks in order of importance. Do what is most profitable or important to you first, then move on from there. Therefore, if you only have a little bit of time, you will be addressing the most critical issues first. All other tasks need to be scheduled for when it makes sense. This final step is critical, otherwise you’ll be starting a new pile.
8. Print out reports of what you have inventoried in your filing system, place a folder in the front of each file drawer, as appropriate, labeled “File Index.” Having a quick and easy reference when you don’t want to open your computer makes it easier to find quickly.
9. Get into a maintenance habit of printing out a ‘File Cleanout’ report of all of your files, quarterly or no less often than annually, and identify what you no longer need and purge or create steps to archive via off site store or scanning.
10. Finally, create a time management habit. Take 10-15 minutes every morning looking at your priorities, including your Actions within your Paper Tiger system and pulling files from your Tickler File. Do the same thing each evening by placing all documents collected through the day back into your systems.
Celebrate your progress, if you haven’t done it yet. Set up your Paper Tiger Filing System and get started now. As you go throughout your day, keep in mind the task at hand and focus on completing that one task. Remember that “things don’t clutter, people clutter”. When we make simple decisions and take action, we can improve the quality of our life at work and at home.
Anne McGurty is CEO of Strategize & Organize, a company devoted to training individual’s to be more effective with the tools and resources so they can be productive in their work environment.
If you like this issue, you’ll love Anne’s transforming productivity training and organizing products to help you organize your business — and yourself — ranging from productivity consulting for individuals and executives to small business coaching programs to keynote speaking and corporate training programs to improve efficiencies in the workplace and improve productivity.
While Anne is best known for her expertise in productivity and expert office organizing, her clients share that her biggest impact comes from her philosophy of “personalizing her programs to fit the needs of her clients so they can streamline more efficiently with existing processes” – ensuring to create a sustainable work environment. This, Anne says, is the most important key to bringing an individual to personal freedom with time and organization.
You can learn more about Anne at www.StrategizeAndOrganize.com.
Earth Day is Monday, April 22nd, and each year individuals across the globe participate in events geared towards environmental protection. Wouldn’t you like to get involved?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each year in the United States, Americans use about 71 million tons of paper and paperboard. Many organizations and individuals are making an effort to go paperless. A paperless environment is certainly good for the Earth as the amount of waste in the landfill is reduced in addition to greenhouse gas emissions and the energy used by printers.
Whether you are trying to go paperless or not, most of us still have some paper files, but we can still work toward less paper. Here are a few tips to help you be more environmental, and don’t forget to index the hard copy paper files into Paper Tiger filing system software for document management, so that when you need to retrieve a document, you can find it without having to print it again.
Here are just a few benefits of using Google Docs/Drive that can help you participate in Earth Day this year.
-Google Docs allows you to access your word processed files, spreadsheets and presentations. You can easily share these files with others. You can edit and work on these documents in the same location they are stored in. This can all be done without ever having a physical sheet of paper. The only time physical documents are involved is if you must first scan them into Google Docs. Sometimes you might need a hard copy in file, but also an electronic file. Using Digital Tiger, powered by Google Docs, function in Paper Tiger Online Basic or Pro plan, will allow you to index the physical paper file into Paper Tiger and also search Google Docs for the digital file.
-Google Docs has one of the cheapest digital file storage available. This means you can create and store all of your files digitally without physical paper clutter while also saving valuable space on your hard drive.
-Worried about the safety of your documents? While Google Docs is very secure, you have the option to send automated backups to your computer and also synchronize through Google Drive.
You can easily do your part to reduce your paper footprint by rethinking how you work with paper files and digital files. These tips can help you do your part in keeping the environment healthy. Whether you have digital files or hard copy paper files, you can easily do your part by reducing paper use for Earth Day.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 was National Organize Your Home Office Day, but here at Paper Tiger we like to designate the whole month of March for organizing your home office (besides, who do you know that can organize an entire office in one day?) With people working from home and diving into self-employment, home offices are quite common. It has been said that at least one in four households have a home office. With clutter on the kitchen counter, dining room table and other areas of the house, this day in particular is designated to getting the office organized.
We know this isn’t a task that can be tackled in one day, but with Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management, we have a few tips that can help you make huge strides.
Optional: Since you are cleaning out your office, you might as well make sure that you are not storing documents that you no longer need or use. Your organizing system needs to be organized as well. (Surely you remember how you can’t be clean on the outside unless you’re clean on the inside). You can print the Paper Tiger File Clean-Out Guide to help you clean out papers from existing files. Also use the Transfer Report to help you physically move documents from one location to another so that your physical hanging file folders matches what you have in Paper Tiger.
These are just steps to help you get started. Of course, it would be quite difficult to clean out an entire home office in one day. Completing one of these steps a day (in order of course) can ensure a clean and tidy office in a week. Remember to relax and take your time when cleaning your office. Don’t get overwhelmed in organizing your home office. You’ll be so proud, you will want to go from room to room. Happy Organizing!
Tidy Tiger Solutions, Michelle Panzlaff, a Professional Organizer and one of our Certified Paper Tiger Experts, has found a way to combine the functionality of the powerful indexing systems in Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management with the concepts provided by Productivity Guru, David Allen, in his world famous GTD (Getting Things Done) Systems.
If you’re a fan of these two powerful organizing tools and systems, you’ll be fascinated by this option. This kind of organizing of tasks can also be formatted to help your staff and team to manage tasks, especially if you are already using Paper Tiger to organize your information and paperwork.
Whatever task or list management system you may be using, this video may help you find new and effective ways to organize your lists. Watch now as Michelle demonstrates how.
Have you lost the ability to be creative, tired of losing important records, and is a growing list of demands getting the better of you, or those around you? Are you ready for a change and want to break the cycle?
If you are seeking some calm in your life and work, have piles of paper that need to be organized effectively, or even if you have some big projects you want help getting launched, you came to the right place.
Professional Organizers are here to help. You are not alone in your challenge to keep clutter and overwhelm from getting in the way of your higher purpose. You can have an effective work space and home you love.
We know that the world today is changing fast, and things are flying in at high speed. It’s no wonder that many of our clients are getting a little behind. There is no one to blame, as life is dynamic.
We all know that clutter can get in the way of success and happiness, and for those that want help to organize, we can help. We bring the know-how, the tools, the resources and the passion for the work at hand.
You, your staff, even your family can work less, earn more and be more productive. Enjoy a streamlined home and office so you can get back to taking care of what really matters.
Professional Organizer in Canada, Michelle Panzlaff created this video to provide you with more information and to help you achieve your goals.
Learn more about the services provided by Michelle Panzlaff and Tidy Tiger Solutions by visiting www.tidytiger.biz today.
Plus, drop into the home page of Tidy Tiger Solutions for free printable gifts and more for your home, work or personal organizing needs.
Tidy Tiger Solutions
To Michelle, serving as a Professional Organizer is all about creating more functional and enjoyable spaces, productive workflow and effective filing systems, while helping clients feel inspired and more productive.
As a skilled professional, Michelle now possesses over 23 years of office, service and administrative experience. Michelle relies on her exceptional skill set to solve complex challenges for her residential and business clients alike.
Phone: (778) 866-6942
Thanks to Roberta Lile-Lindsey of Kentucky for submitting this article on how she uses Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management, and how much the software has helped her, especially since an accident left her with a brain injury. We wish Roberta continued recovery in her health and improved memory.
Read on to see how Paper Tiger has helped Roberta get organized and be able to retrieve what she needs even with long-term and short-term memory loss. This shows how important it is to get organized without delay while healthy, because you never know what tomorrow will bring in your life.
by Roberta Lile-Lindsey
I purchased Paper Tiger Professional 4.1 Desktop Version a few years ago after I got married and needed to consolidate all of my paperwork with that of my husband. My main use, of course, is for my filing cabinet, which contains active content and what I call ‘ancient’ archive content. You never know when you might need to use some of this ‘ancient’ content for present use; personal or business.
We were both very busy at the time I purchased Paper Tiger. My husband was working full-time and I was a full-time student and mother of two. We had just bought and remodeled our home. We did all of the work ourselves. So, you can imagine how busy and tired we were.
Using Paper Tiger was very easy and self-explanatory. I not only used it for my filing cabinet but I also have used it for organizing my closets that have both of our past memorabilia stored. All I have to do is open up Paper Tiger and I can find all of my important files or memorabilia.
I have always tried to be organized but what I did not know at the time of my purchase of Paper Tiger was how vital its use would become.
On August 13th, 2012, my husband and I were involved in a car accident. We were rear-ended by a teenage boy who was driving on a suspended license. That Monday was the first day of our vacation and we were only a few miles from our home when the wreck occurred.
The car sustained minor damage; however, I suffered a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Whip Lash. Among other injuries, I lost my long-term and short-term memory. Needless to say, with the pain and memory loss, my everyday living was and has been very difficult.
Not long after the accident, I received a call from my daughter needing some important information that normally I would be able to tell her from my memory. I could not remember the information that she needed; however, I did remember that I had Paper Tiger on my computer. I told her I would have to look up the information, IF I had filed it and I would tell her what she needed to know.
Thankfully, I was able to open Paper Tiger and look-up the information that she needed, call her back and give it to her. I was so relieved that I had organized all of my important files and at-a-glance can find everything that I need in spite of my long-term and short-term memory loss!!
I have started searching my family history after the accident in order to improve my memory and cognitive skills and once I feel better, I plan on adding those files to Paper Tiger also.
I continually use Paper Tiger to find and archive paper files, memorabilia, photos, Christmas decorations and the list could go on-and-on.
Winning an Apple iPad at this point and time could really improve my chance for a full recovery, as there are many apps available for traumatic brain injury patients, such as myself. I follow brainline.org and there are some fantastic Life-Changing iPad apps for people with brain injury.
Daily life continues to be a struggle even after six months of recovery time. I am so thankful to have Paper Tiger to make my life more organized and less stressful!
Sherry Borsheim, a Paper Tiger Expert of Simply Productive, has offered some great tips on staying organized while traveling for business so that when you’re back to your office, you won’t have a lot of ‘briefcase drama’ nor will you have a stack of papers to fumble through. You’ll be able to index them into your Paper Tiger database, and file as you’ve already noted.
Has this ever happened to you? You’ve just returned from a business trip and your briefcase is bulging with receipts, meeting notes, business cards, travel documents and other essential paperwork. You’ll probably spend your first day back in the office just sorting through the chaotic mass of paper before you can even think about getting down to business!
Or, perhaps you travel all over the city attending one meeting after another. By the end of the day, your briefcase is a pile of to-dos with no particular order. Phone messages are scattered on various pieces of papers and you just know that an important message is hidden somewhere in the mess. Then there are the business cards you collected, some require follow-up, but you’re not sure where you put those important numbers. If only you had kept it in a safe place so you could remember where you put it.
At this point, all those good intentions to take action and follow-up on hot new business leads fizzle into frustration. But there’s no time to think about how you misplaced those essential items. The minute you’re back in the office you find there is a pile of emails waiting for your response, in addition to a large pile of papers on your desk begging for your attention. You dive right in to the emails and before you know it the morning is gone and it’s lunchtime. You work through lunch in order to attack the pile of paper on your desk. Then you realize you reviewed your messages, so you abandon the paper pile and listen to all your messages. It’s a never-ending circle of paper, email and voicemail, and you haven’t even cracked open your briefcase. You just spend the day reacting to emergencies and interruptions with no planned scheduled time to deal with the important issues that you had hoped to get to.
This continues day after day and you’re still dragging all those papers from your business trip in your briefcase and you’ve been adding to it during the week as you attended more meetings. Now you have no idea what’s what and it all melts together into one big mountain of paper begging for your attention. How long do you let this go on before you decide to take action? For some its days and other’s, its weeks or months. Those hot new leads you made on your business trip aren’t so hot now and the longer you leave it, the more you procrastinate on taking action. Eventually you take mountain of paper out of your briefcase and drop it on the floor by your desk and say you’ll deal with it later, because you have more important things to take care of in the office. Guilt sets in and it constantly nags at you to do something but you don’t. You know you should get your business receipts handled but you’re not sure where they all are and it ends up costing you money when you could have been reimbursed.
Here are some tips on how to put an end to the briefcase drama scenario after business travel:
1. Streamline and organize your briefcase so you know what the next action is on any piece of paper and business card while you’re out of town and when you arrive back at your office. Use plastic folders to batch similar tasks together. Remember, ease of access and functionality are very important when using any organizing product.
2. Label the file folders inside your briefcase with the next action you want to take – “Call, Data Entry, Discuss, Receipts, Meeting Notes/Agenda, Photocopy, Read, or Write”. Customize your files based on your specific action steps.
3. How to use your travel briefcase when outside your office. File meeting agendas under the file tab labeled “Meeting Notes/Agenda so when you get to the meeting it’s all together. If you collect business cards during your trip there are two things you can do with the business card: (1) enter it immediately into your Contact List, or (2) file it into your mini travel briefcase under “Data Entry”. When you return to your hotel or your office, any cards that you wanted to get into your Contact List are all grouped together. You can enter them yourself, scan them using an App or delegate the task to someone else.
4. Define the next action. No more putting it aside to deal with it later. This is what I call “deferred decisions”. Instead, ask yourself this very important question: “What is the next action I want to take on this piece of paper?
5. Schedule a specific time in your calendar to handle that next action. This is the key to getting things done. A pile or file labeled “To Do” is only an intention to do something, where as a scheduled appointment is a commitment to take action on something.
6. Use clear project folders to keep like papers together. Use these project folders to keep your agenda and meetings notes together in your mini-travel briefcase or keep them on your iPad using Evernote in a folder called “Agendas”. You may be attending several meetings and these project folders are sure to keep your papers grouped together. Do not use paper clips, they tend to attach to other pieces of paper and get caught on other paper clips.
7. 80/20 Rule – 80 percent of what we file we never refer to again. Therefore, ask yourself, “What is the worst possible case scenario if you tossed this piece of paper away?” If you can live with the results of your answer to this question, then toss the piece of paper.
8. What to file for future reference. If you decided to keep the information on a piece of paper, ask yourself: “If I want to retrieve this information again, what trigger word would you think of?” Write the trigger word on the upper right hand corner of that piece of paper and file it in your briefcase under “File”.
9. Transferring papers when you return. When you return to your office after the business trip or day of meetings, everything that you’ve gathered during your time away from the office is grouped together by the next action. Instead of a mountain of paper spilling out of your briefcase, you’ll be ahead of the paper chase game, because you’ve already defined the next action. All there is for you to do is to schedule time in your calendar to handle the actions in your mini-travel briefcase. Some of the actions like Data Entry, File, and Expense Reimburse you can delegate to your assistant if you have one. That feeling of guilt and shame won’t be there because you’ve handled what you said you would do when you returned to your office. For those papers that you need to file, you can enter the ‘trigger’ word that you’ve already written on the file into your Paper Tiger database, add additional keywords if necessary, and drop the document(s) into the corresponding item number hanging file folder.
Business Travel tips:
Implementing the business travel briefcase will dramatically decrease your stress level and increase your productivity when you return to your office. You’ll turn piles of paper into valuable resources instead of deferred decisions and guilt. Instead of reacting to emergencies, you’ll be proactive on your commitments and follow-up.
Sherry Borsheim is the president of Simply Productive. You can visit Sherry, access her free article archive and grab lots of free stuff at http://www.simplyproductive.com. Sherry lives in Vancouver, BC Canada with her husband (her high-school sweetheart).
Contact Sherry for a JUMP-START on ORGANIZING your office, home and life. She will give you her trade secrets and steps to setting up your organizing systems, including recommending Paper Tiger filing system software for document management, to be organized and manage the paper files that you need to keep in hard copy format and other physical stuff in your life.