Paper Tiger Blog

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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.

Whether you’re organizing your desk drawers, filing cabinets, a stack of paper files, a closet, attic, or the garage, Paper Tiger Filing System software will help you get organized. You can have a system in place so you can maintain organization, and be able to live and work in a more productive environment.

You may be asking yourself, why do I want to add another ‘system’ to my chaos. Will this really help me get organized? Think about it this way. You are already wasting a lot of time searching for things, whether it be in your filing cabinet under a name you don’t remember what you filed it under, or maybe what you’re looking for is something that you’ve boxed up in the attic, but you don’t know which box?

You also may dread the thought of having to make decisions about what to throw away or what to keep. Remember the Pareto Principle, you know the 80/20 rule … we only use 20% of what we have, and the other 80% are back-ups, mistakes, things we hold on to because we don’t make good decisions about what to do with them. If you don’t try to figure out a system that will get you organized so you can find what you need when you need it, you may find that you’re only using 20% of what you can find!

How Paper Tiger Filing System Software Makes It Easier to Get Organized

Paper Tiger uses the power of the computer to organize documents stored in your file cabinets and enables users to actually find what they need, when they need it without time wasting searches. Instead of filing paper documents alphabetically, users file documents numerically. Instead of one “magic” word that you have to decide what to file a document under, you can assign as many keywords as you like!

Paper Tiger combined with a proven methodology, enables users to get organized and manage paper and other physical items more effectively.

The Concept of Locations

Think of your file cabinet as a “paper warehouse” and the hanging files in your file cabinet as containers in the warehouse. When you want to file something, you simply find an empty container (file folder), or an existing container with other papers on the same subject, put the paper in it, type in a few keywords relating to the document being filed, and you’re done! It is that simple!

With Paper Tiger, a location is a “group of like items” such as “Action” and “Reference”  – which are the first two locations we recommend that you set up when using Paper Tiger. For this reason, we have pre-printed tabs that can be ordered with Paper Tiger software. The pre-printed tabs are Action 1-60 and Reference 1-320 to get you started. In addition, there are several text labels for a Desktop File. Desktop Files are not a required component of Paper Tiger. They were developed as a way of customizing Paper Tiger for individual preferences. For many Paper Tiger users, that is all the labels they ever need.

How many locations should you have? With  Paper Tiger there are no “shoulds!” As long as you put in a few keywords for each file, you will be able to find anything you need. However, the more locations you create, the more complicated you make the system and the longer it will take. So start simple! You can easily refine the system later on and you will probably discover it’s unnecessary work.

To explain, a four drawer file cabinet can be one location (Reference) or four locations (Clients, Financial, Administrative, Research). The natural inclination of most people is to make it four locations. The least labor-intensive system, however, would be to make the file cabinet one Location called “Reference”.

Here’s Our Recommendation for Getting Organized with Paper Tiger

Start with two locations: Action and Reference. You can use the “Category” field to indicate whether the file contains client, financial, administration, or research info. Now you might be thinking: “Horror of horrors! All my files will be “mixed up.” Yes, they will be – but so what?

Think of doing a Google search for information. As long as the information shows up, do you care where it is? Think of Paper Tiger the same way.

Paper Tiger Action Files

If you have a paper file that requires action by you, it becomes an Action File. These are the types of files that you might be working on as a project that you want to keep close, maybe in your desk drawer. These are ‘temporary action’ files. When a project is complete, you can transfer this file to your Reference Location or toss if you don’t need to keep the documents for this project.

Organizing experts have worked one on one with hundreds of individuals, and have discovered that most people had single pieces of paper which required their action that they weren’t sure what to do with. When asked the question, “What is the next action you need to take on this piece of paper?” the most common answers were those that became “Desktop Files” such as “Call,” “Data Entry,” “Expense Reimbursement” or “Waiting on Response.” These are what we call ‘permanent action’ files because they are regular, repeating, frequent, and general, so not a project type action that will need a file folder of its own. Since these papers often move quickly and usually not needed after the action has completed, it is not recommended that you index them in Paper Tiger. For example:

  • Call file: after the call has been made, you can enter the phone information where you keep your contact information, then throw away the message reminder.
  • Expense Reimbursement: after you have turned in your expenses for a trip, and you have receive payment, you can file it in your Reference Location for your records. Alternately, you can scan and shred the physical paper file.

Paper Tiger Reference Files

If you don’t know whether you need a paper file, but you just don’t want to throw it away, or you want it for future reference, it should become a Reference File.

For a four-drawer file cabinet in your office called “Reference”, the outside of the drawers might be labeled as follows:

Drawer 1: Reference 1-55

Drawer 2: Reference 56-95

Drawer 3: Reference 96-140

Drawer 4: Reference 141-195

Each Reference number represents an item that you’ve indexed into Paper Tiger with item name and keywords…maybe a category, notes, and an action date.

If you just cannot bear to have certain files mixed in with all the other Reference files, then create a Location for that type of file. For example, some people want to be sure that they have all their client files together. In this case, create a Location named “Clients”, then the item names might be the client or company name, and keywords could be their account number with you, their address, phone number and any other information in which you might search for them later or of which you want to keep track, such as the last time you spoke to them.

The next Location you will want to create is Archives. This Location is for those documents that you don’t need in your Reference Location, but need to keep for financial or legal reasons for a specific length of time. You can also use the Archives Location for when documents can be tossed, but you’re not willing to get rid of them just yet. You will want to create this “Archives” Location in Paper Tiger and decide the physical location to where you’ll move those files. This will be in a less accessible location, so you will want to give it a new Location. Your Archives location could be located in a storage room, garage, attic, or at a records retention storage company.

You might also think about when each item can be removed (tossed/shredded) and set an Action Date to that item when you transfer them to your Archive Location in Paper Tiger and physically. That way you will know when each file can be removed without going through the file. Creating a records retention policy for your home and/or office will help you to have a guideline of how long you should keep records in your specific situation so you don’t have to rethink this every time you clean out your files. We have articles under our blog category, “Retention Guidelines: How long should you keep records?” that you might find helpful.

Most records retention storage companies require that you place a label on the box you send to them indicating when the files therein should be destroyed. You can simply do the same thing with your Archived files wherever you store them.

Other Physical Items (not paper files)

For other physical items, (such as books, CDs, DVDs, boxes/containers, etc.), decide if the items need a location in Paper Tiger or if you can index keywords for the items in with other things. See other Location suggestions described on our Not Just For Filing Paper page. Basically, anything that you can put a number onto, can be indexed into Paper Tiger. For example, for CDs or DVDs, you can either place a numbered label that matches the item number in Paper Tiger, on the CD/DVD jacket or you can place the CD/DVD in a binder such as the one pictured below, index the name, author, and other pertinent information into the item’s keywords section in Paper Tiger. As you can see, the item number was written with permanent marker on the DVD and on the DVD binder slot. So the DVD numbered 45, would match what was indexed in Paper Tiger’s item number 45 for the DVD Location (DVD 45).

Other Locations might be for information only (unless you keep related papers in your Reference files), such as:

  • Passwords: for user names and passwords for websites
  • Subscriptions: for keeping record of subscriptions and renewal info
  • Statistics or Ideas
  • Books Read: books you’ve given away, but don’t want to forget you’ve read
  • Frequent Traveler – Membership #, toll free phone number, User ID, facts about memberships

To create your custom Location labels or more Action or Reference labels, Paper Tiger makes it easy. In case you’re wondering, there is no limit to the number of locations you can have! Click here to see even more ways to use Paper Tiger to get organized.


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Filing System Makes the Grade for Back to School

back to school

Can you believe that stores are stocking the shelves already with back to school supplies? Yes, we are already seeing the local school supply lists displayed. Teachers will soon be preparing to open the doors to their classrooms and parents will be scrambling to purchase the school supplies needed for their children to get back to school.

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 needs to be kept up with to be able to find when needed. Teacher are likely to teach many different types of 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:

  • students’ assignments, handouts & tests
  • attendance records
  • lesson plans
  • appointments & meeting notes
  • worksheets, etc.

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, not only for back to school but throughout the year.

Paper Tiger Filing System to Organize Paper Files for Back to School

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 or set of the same file types 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 virtually eliminates 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. Or you can search in your Paper Tiger database and let the substitute know where the file is. 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. Your substitute teacher can feel better when coming to your class, because he(she) will not have to scramble around searching for what is needed for the day.

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 have a preset place for them and 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)

But Not Just for Filing Paper!

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. And you’ll know the place to put the items back for the next time you need them.

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 when returning back to school.


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No matter when your tax deadlines are, it’s always good practice to have your records in order so that you won’t have to do last minute scrambling looking for the documents needed tax time preparation. Indexing your paper files in Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management is ideal to ensure you are able to find your files when you need them.

It is estimated that people waste 150 hours per year searching for lost information. How much of your time is wasted strictly around tax time? Everyone needs a system of sorts to help them organize, and Paper Tiger is the perfect tool to use as a year-round filing system. Retrieving documents to prepare for filing your taxes does not have to be an ordeal.

Tax Time Preparation

Where should you start when organizing for preparing your taxes?

Click here to see a tax prep checklist from H&R Block, which would be a great place to start. You need to know what types of documents you will need whether you are preparing to file your taxes for yourself or if you will have a tax professional prepare them for you.

If you already have your files set up the way you want them and you have them indexed into your Paper Tiger database already, you can transfer those files out of the current Paper Tiger and physical location to an archived location. See Archiving Old Files section below.

If not, then you’ll need to decide what hanging file folders you need for each of these categories based on your situation so that you can proactively prepare for filing this year’s documents. While you’re going through documents for preparing your taxes, it is a good time to think about what file folders you’ll need for your current year. For each hanging file folder, create an item in your Paper Tiger database so that you can index the keywords that relate to the documents in the folder. When you need to retrieve a file, you simply search in Paper Tiger by the keyword and you’ll be able to find the file quickly.

To start with Paper Tiger Document Management Software, you would first set up all hanging file folders in your file cabinets coinciding with each ‘Location‘ in your Paper Tiger database at one time using the numbered tabs that you print out from the software and they never change. You type in information relating to each document in the item name and keyword section of Paper Tiger’s database digital file location. You can give the document any name you want without any worry about finding it later. This is because the system will allow you to tag keywords that describe all documents that you put into your hanging file folders. For documents that you want to add to the same file, simply edit the Item in the database and add additional keywords necessary for the new document(s). When your physical files have been indexed into the database, the easy-to-use search engine virtually eliminates lost information in your office, as well as eliminating filing the same subject matter under different names because you’ve forgotten what you filed it under previously.

Because the hanging file folders are already set up and waiting for your information, you also eliminate the time-consuming hassle of having to find and create a file folder tab each time you want to file something.

Whether filing away tax documents or other important files, be sure to file those documents immediately and in the correct location. Paper Tiger will keep them organized, but you have to take that first step towards getting your files in the right places. It’s especially important that you make sure your tax documents have a “home” and that you index them into your Paper Tiger database.

How Long Should Tax Documents Be Kept

Here is an interesting fact that you should know: while most people assume that they can throw away or destroy their tax papers and other documents after a few years, that is not always true. In some cases, you might be legally required to hold onto all or some of these documents forever.

Because you are supposed to keep your personal past taxes on record for at least seven years, it can be easy to lose track of your archived files … which box in the garage or attic did you file previous year’s tax documents? For businesses, it is important to keep your records even longer. Isn’t it worthwhile to have them filed correctly for the time period you have to keep them? Using Paper Tiger filing system, this does not need to be a burdensome task.

Archiving Old Files

How to archive old files is simple with Paper Tiger. Decide where your physical archived location should be. (wherever you keep the files that you don’t need in your main filing cabinet) Whether the best place is in boxes in the garage or a filing cabinet in the attic, simply create a location in Paper Tiger named “Archives”, and conduct a Transfer, Move function of the file or files being moved to the Archive Location within your database. Paper Tiger will assign a file number in your Archives file to move the file to in the physical location, where you will set up hanging file folders accordingly.

Alternately, if you need the same hanging file folders under the same name for the current year’s files, instead of a Transfer, Move function, you could  conduct a Transfer, Duplicate to duplicate these files to Archives. Then you would simply change the date of the original files (both in the database and in the physical file location for the current year, as necessary) to be able to have a location for your current year’s files. The item name and keywords will most likely be the same in this case, but you can update your item and keywords in Paper Tiger, as necessary.

You will be rotating papers in and out of your system every single year. Taking the time to get organized now can save you years of grief as well as possible legal issues. Paper Tiger Document Management Software can help you get organized and stay organized. And don’t forget about Paper Tiger’s File Cleanout report that can be used to help you decide which items need to be moved, duplicated, or tossed/shredded.

During an audit, you might be asked to provide documentation that goes back many years. The IRS will not care that you don’t have your papers in a file nor will they give you benefit of the doubt if you say you cannot “find” something. That is not their problem, and they may penalize you further for everything that you do not produce when asked; making it absolutely vital that you keep the files and papers organized and easy to find.

We have several articles under the Retention Guidelines: How Long Should I Keep Records? category that you might find helpful.

Here is an example of how Paper Tiger can help you file and find a file:

If you have papers you need to keep for taxes, but also need them in other files, it can be confusing when you need to retrieve them for tax time. For instance, you need to keep track of a medical bill you are paying off in “Bills” file, but also need it for your “Taxes” file to find at the end of the year. With a traditional filing system, you would have to choose which file to put it in knowing it will be hard to find it later because you may not remember which file you put it in.

In Paper Tiger, the Item Name would be “Bills to Pay”and you might have several bills in that folder. You would simply edit that item, then type the keywords “hospital bill” and “medical” in the item’s keyword section when adding the medical bill to the Bills to Pay file. Then just like when you use any other search engine, you would search for any one of those keywords when you need to retrieve the documents, and Paper Tiger does the work. The results will come back letting you know which file it is in so you can retrieve it. All you have to do is make sure you type in as many possible keywords you can think of when filing the documents, and you will never have a problem again tracking down a document for any purpose.

Never scramble for documents around tax season again. Use Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management all year to organize all important documents so that tax time won’t be quite so dreaded.


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Emphasis on Excellence, The PhD of Productivity™

This Paper Tiger webinar hosted by Meggin McIntosh, “The Ph.D. of Productivity”™ and Paper Tiger Expert, 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.

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.

Emphasis on Excellence, Inc.
Email: meggin@meggin.com
Phone: 775.853.5510

MEGGIN’S WEBSITES

http://meggin.com (Primary site)

http://GetaPlanGuides.com

http://KeepingChaosatBay.com

http://TopTenProductivityTips.com

http://JustWhelmed.com

http://OwningWordsforLiteracy.com

http://PumpernickelPublishing.com

http://StayingPositiveinaFreakedOutWorld.com

http://LifeofEs.com


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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.

What is lost information costing you?

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.

How does Paper Tiger help you in getting organized?

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.

Do you have a records retention policy?

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.

  1. Clear your desk first, indexing paper files into Paper Tiger as you file things away, then move to your desk drawers and filing cabinets.
  2. After every hanging file folder has a corresponding item in your Paper Tiger database, review your records retention policy.
  3. When you have a good retention policy, then you can use Paper Tiger’s ‘File Cleanout’ report to help you purge or archive files no longer needed in your immediate filing area. Use the Transfer function in Paper Tiger to easily transfer the item to archive or toss it as necessary. You’ll be able to keep up with where the files are at any given point in its life-cycle.

With the help of Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management, getting organized doesn’t have to be overwhelming.


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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.

Where do you begin to determine how to implement a system of document retention guidelines?

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

Litigation

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.

Client Records

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

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.

Accountability

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!


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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.

Meggin’s Tips for Managing & Purging Your Filing Cabinets

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:

  • Get rid of anything that you don’t need to keep (either toss or shred).
  • Put in archival storage anything that needs to be kept, but not kept in your office.
  • Leave the items that belong in the folder there and put it back in the filing cabinet. Note: before placing the folder back in the filing cabinet, this would be the time to edit the item in your Paper Tiger database to make sure that the items in your hanging file folder matches the Item Name and Keywords. For example,
    • If you’ve tossed or shredded everything in that folder, you would want to ‘Toss’ the item in your Paper Tiger database.
    • Or if you move the documents from that folder to an archive location, now would be the time to ‘Transfer’ the Item in Paper Tiger to the new ‘Location’ in the database.

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!

Example File Cleanout Report from Filing Cabinet Indexed in Paper Tiger

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.

Phone: 775.853.5510

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)

http://GetaPlanGuides.com

http://KeepingChaosatBay.com

http://TopTenProductivityTips.com

http://JustWhelmed.com

http://OwningWordsforLiteracy.com

http://PumpernickelPublishing.com

http://StayingPositiveinaFreakedOutWorld.com

http://LifeofEs.com


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A Filing System Will Help Teachers, Parents and Students Get Organized!

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:

  • students’ assignments, handouts & tests
  • attendance records
  • lesson plans
  • appointments & meeting notes
  • worksheets, etc.

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.

Paper Tiger Filing System to Organize Paper Files

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)

But Not Just for Filing Paper!

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.


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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.

Declutter to Get Organized and Reduce Stress

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.

Be Proactive to Stop Clutter

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.

Index with Paper Tiger to Get Organized

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.

Not Just for Paper Filing

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:

  • Bank Security Boxes
  • Books
  • CDs
  • Collection
  • Craft Supplies
  • DVDs
  • Inventory
  • Keys
  • Moving Boxes
  • Storage Containers
  • Storage Sheds
  • Wine

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.


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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.

  • When was the last time I used this? Whether paper filing or organizing other physical items, you will certainly find things that you didn’t even know you had. Chances are, you don’t need these things. If you haven’t used it in the past year, you probably won’t use it in the next. If you can’t bear to trash it, keep it for six more months. If you still don’t use it, you can get rid of it. Of course memorabilia and keepsakes should be treasured and stored or displayed appropriately.
  • Will I need this again? We all have things that we’ve “discovered” in our possessions. If you have to ask yourself when the last time the item was used, you’ll definitely want to figure out if you’ll need the item. There are some items that aren’t used very often but should be kept, but otherwise your best bet would be to trash these found treasures (or recycle).
  • What will happen if I part with it? Once you ask yourself this question, you’ll probably realize that the answer is the same every time; nothing. Sure you might make a mistake, but could you buy another one if needed? Could you borrow this item? If after you have considered these things and realize that your survival isn’t vulnerable, let the item go.
  • Why do I need this item? One common mistake people make is keeping items for future events that are really far into the future. If you can’t think of a specific instance when you might need this item then you probably should trash it.

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.

Anything that you can put a number onto, you can index into Paper Tiger. See some great ideas from our Not Just For Paper Filing webpage and see how much clutter you can clear!


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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:

Thrive: Be Kind to Your Body

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.

Thrive: Make Money, Get Paid

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.

Thrive: Keep It Secure

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.

Thrive: Keep Your Ideas in Order

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.

Thrive: Get a Grip on Paperwork

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.


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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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Home Office Needs 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.

Sometimes 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.

Organizing Your Home Office

  1. Gather your Tools: Before you actually try to start organizing your home office, make sure you have plenty of trash bags, boxes, sticky notes and markers to label your piles. You may also want to have a vacuum cleaner or broom around, as things might get messy. Cleaning supplies and a shredder, if necessary, are also some tools you can have nearby.
  2. Sort Items: You can’t start to organize until you know what you have. Do you even know what is in that stack of papers on the corner of your desk? Have you opened that third drawer lately? Go through everything and decide what you need to keep and what needs to be trashed. The documents and things you decide to keep need to be sorted into piles and labeled so that you know what they are later. You might even think about your stacks such as: Action (things you need to take action on), Reference (things that you need to keep, but needs to be filed). This will be a great start in how to separate your stacks. And don’t forget a trash stack….
  3. Trash Items: If you don’t need it, trash it as you go! The more useless things you hold on to, the more clutter you will have. You have trash bags and the shredder nearby so you can get rid of unwanted things. If you think you can’t bear the thought of parting with your things that you could retrieve again by a simple search on the Internet, think about it again. What is your goal? Are you trying to get rid of some old clutter? If so, toss as much as you can!
  4. Use Paper Tiger: Here is where Paper Tiger fits in the equation. Once you have sorted everything, you are ready to file your documents. Simply itemize each file subject in your Paper Tiger database and drop these files into the corresponding hanging file folder number that matches the Item number in Paper Tiger. You can name them as you choose and add keywords to help you or someone else find the file easily. You can store the physical documents in the garage, or in your desk drawers, or any other place that is convenient for you. The main point here is that when you use Paper Tiger, you will be sure to find the file you need later without time-consuming searches.

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, and once you have your Paper Tiger database set up with your paper files indexed, you can print the File Clean-Out report 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 the documents in your hanging file folders match what you have in Paper Tiger.

These are steps to help you get started. Of course, depending on 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 less time than you think. Remember to relax and take your time when cleaning your office. Don’t get overwhelmed in organizing your home office. You’ll feel so accomplished and proud, you will want to go from room to room, and maybe even tackle organizing the garage. Happy Organizing!


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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.

  1. Don’t Procrastinate. Why put off what you can do today for tomorrow? Instead of waiting, do things right now. After a long day at work, opt to sort through the mail instead of tossing it on the kitchen counter. At the end of the week, you’ve now avoided that overwhelming mess of an endless pile of mail. If you start doing things as soon as you notice them, it will become a habit.
  2. Make Time. Of course, you’ve got to prepare dinner, take the kids to soccer practice and do laundry on Tuesday afternoon, but you’ve also got to set time aside to make important phone calls, pay bills, etc. If you have things you must do, give yourself 20 or 30 minutes each day to complete these additional admin type tasks. Stick to these appointments as if they are business meetings.
  3. Trash the Unnecessary. Sometimes you just have to sit down and go through all your clutter. One room at a time, piece by piece, trash all the things that you don’t need anymore. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this?” If it has been longer than a year, trash it. Or if it is something that you can give away, decide who or where you will give it. If you are having issues parting with certain things, create a tentative pile so that you can go through them later.
  4. Break Large Tasks into Smaller Tasks. How overwhelming is it to clean the entire attic? Tasks like this are simply too large, but if you decide to clean the left side or the back corner of the attic, the goal is more attainable. In lieu of breaking a large task into several smaller tasks, you can also set a timer. If you spend 30 minutes each day tackling the attic without distractions, you will surely make progress.
  5. Differentiate Between Important and Non-Important Documents. Do you know what papers should be kept and what shouldn’t? Chances are, you’re holding on to a lot of excess clutter that you may not necessarily need. See our article To Shred or Not to Shred for more information on what to keep and how long it should be kept.
  6. Keep Essential Information Accessible. Before you even begin to index your paper files with Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management, they must be separated and sorted. Sort and label your information and make sure that the most important documents are always handy. Having everything in one place will save you a lot of time in the long run.
  7. Set Deadlines. As mentioned earlier, it can be a bit difficult to part with certain items. When you set aside these items and put them in a temporary location, simply put a date on the pile or box. Set the date for three or six months in the future. If you haven’t reach into the box for any of those items before the date, get rid of them.
  8. Stick to it. When you make plans, be sure to stick to them. For example, if you have planned out the entire dinner menu for the week, don’t change it. These changes bring about redundant trips to the grocery store, duplicate ingredients and spoiled food. Aside from food preparation, its best to stick to other plans especially related to activities that require a bit of planning. It can be quite frustrating and challenging to try to get reorganized for the family trip next month.
  9. Everything Needs a Home. There should be a place for everything. Whether you’re using boxes or crates, be sure to label everything and put in a location that you can access when needed. Plastic storage containers work well for storing things. Don’t forget that you can use Paper Tiger for indexing items in storage containers. Anything that you can put a number onto, you can index into Paper Tiger!
  10. Don’t be Hard on Yourself. Learning to be organized isn’t something that can happen overnight. We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes 21 days to form a habit” so be patient and stick with it. After you’ve been organizing for a while, both Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management and Digital Tiger will be perfect tools for you. Happy Organizing!

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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!

Strategize and Organize

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:

Get Organized, Work Efficiently and More Productive

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

About Anne:

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.


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