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!
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.
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”.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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)
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.
Even thinking about what you have to do and the decisions you have to make to get organized, can be overwhelming. You might be tempted to give up before you start – but don’t! Whether you’re organizing your desk drawers, filing cabinets, a stack of paper files, a closet, attic, or the garage, you can make a SMART start!
Sort: Whatever you’re organizing, you will need to sort through the clutter. Put similar or like things together.
Think about the similar items you have scattered throughout your home or office, and make a home for those like items to get them together. For example, do you have appliance manuals and warranties scattered, but cannot find the one you need? Depending on the volume of these similar things, designate a drawer, a hanging box file folder, or a box for these. Note that you don’t have to go searching for these items now. This could waste a lot of unnecessary time, however you will at least have a home for these items and will know where they go when you organize and sort through another part of your home or office and come across them at that time.
Make good decisions now! You’ll need to ask yourself some questions about your paper files and other stuff. 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. Set yourself up for continued maintenance.
Action: For things that need action by you, either do it now or place a note on it that outlines what action needs to be taken and by what deadline. (See Paper Tiger Action Files)
Reference: Paper files that you need to keep, but do not require action, can be indexed into your Reference file location. (See Paper Tiger Reference Files).
Toss/shred: If you don’t need a piece of paper, then throw it away or shred it! If you don’t need that old bike anymore, give it away. If you can’t wear or haven’t worn some of your clothes or shoes in a year, then give them away.
Paper Tiger Filing System software combined with a proven methodology, enables users to get organized and manage paper and other physical items more effectively. Click here to see when using Paper Tiger, getting organized doesn’t have to be tough!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This FREE webinar will help!
Is this you?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Kathy Paauw, of Paauwerfully Organized, can help out by teaching you some powerful techniques that will help you increase your personal and professional productivity. In fact, don’t be surprised if you can add an hour or MORE to your day EVERY DAY.
Imagine what you would do with an extra hour each and every day. That is an additional 365 hours or over nine 40 hour work weeks of extra time. Think of this next time you make the statement, “I wish I had more time”.
Here’s what you’ll be able to accomplish when you attend Kathy’s upcoming ‘Buried in Paper’ webinar and put what you learn into practice:
About Kathy Paauw
Kathy founded Paauwerfully Organized in 1995, and offers three primary services: productivity consulting, business and personal coaching, and training.
Kathy says, “Organization for the sake of ‘being organized’ has no value, but it is a vital tool to help you accomplish what is most important to you. Organizational skills and effective systems can improve productivity, reduce stress, and improve the quality of your personal and professional life.”
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.
http://meggin.com (Primary site)
Managing paper and getting organized in any office is an overwhelming task, because there is a seemingly ever-increasing mountain of paper files.
Whether you’re an individual, a small or large company, you must practice good time management and office organization techniques in order to control costs and provide excellent service. Experts agree that efficient staff productivity is a must, and Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management is a simple and effective tool that can help you in getting organized and save time. You get all the power of the computer WITHOUT the risks and time commitment of paper scanning.
How much does it cost you, not only monetarily, but in stress and lost time when you have to search for something you need, and it takes a while to find it or recreate it? Is your current filing system working for you? Are you able to retrieve what you need, when you need it?
Experts tell us that the average person wastes 150 hours per year just looking for things, and we’ve found some estimates even higher. You can calculate the cost of disorganization in your office at http://thepapertiger.com/roicalculator and you’ll see in a matter of seconds, that your return on investment using Paper Tiger will quickly allow you to get organized and be more productive. Imagine the satisfaction and reduced stress of being able to put your fingers on what you need, when you need it! And Paper Tiger is not just for filing paper … you can index into the software’s database any physical item that you can put a number onto.
Getting organized and more productive will give you more time to do the things you enjoy! An organized and productive system will help you manage your time more wisely.
Paper Tiger allows you to go ahead and set up hanging files with numbered tabs, so they are ready to drop your paper files into. Paper Tiger greatly simplifies filing by eliminating the problems found in traditional alphabetic methods and has made finding paper files in the office faster and much more reliable.
Stacks of paper files all over the office lead to frustration and inefficiency, which is costly in both time and money, so you must prioritize and decide on procedures to handle the paper that comes through your office. To create an even more efficient office, be sure to document your policy for paper handling and retention guidelines. This will ensure that everyone is organized in the same way and training on these procedures will be a cinch in the event of employee illness or staff turnover.
When going through mail and any other documents that cross your desk, decide what needs action, what should be filed, and what should be tossed. Today’s mail is tomorrow’s clutter. Stop making stacks; start making decisions!
-Decide what is junk, and toss or shred what should be tossed immediately.
-For items that need to be filed, the best practice would be to open your Paper Tiger database and type in Item Name and Keywords for each item as necessary, then immediately drop into the corresponding hanging folder. You don’t have to worry about remembering what name you filed it under later because you can input as many keywords as you like for any given file. If you already have a file indexed for a specific subject, just edit the Item in Paper Tiger to add any necessary keywords and add it to that existing hanging file folder.
Alternately, you could have a tray or folder on your desk where you can immediately place items to be filed. Then set aside 15 minutes to clear your desk at the end of each day, enter the necessary information regarding the ‘to be filed’ into your Paper Tiger database, and place the files into the corresponding hanging folder. (remember, the hanging folders are already set up, so you don’t have to worry about finding folders and making tabs)
-Prioritize action items. Decide if the action can be done immediately. If not, either delegate or check the deadline. Decide how long it will take you to complete the task, and go ahead and schedule the time on your calendar for the length of time needed to get the job done by the deadline. Input the Item Name and Keywords information regarding the action file into Paper Tiger, and select the Action date to start. Place the item in the corresponding Action Item hanging folder. This gives you a place to put all files relating to the same project without stacking up on your desk until you’re ready to work on it.
Paper Tiger is great for short-term action files, as well as long-term storage of files. Of course, purging of files should be a task that is done regularly according to your office retention guidelines and compliance with regulations to ensure your filing cabinets do not overflow with unnecessary or outdated files. If you don’t have a records retention policy, (how long certain types of files should be kept), now is a good time to make those decisions. You’ll not only save time by having to think about this every year, but you will set you and your staff up for better efficiency, as well as keeping your office space clutter-free and efficient.
When you’re ready to purge files to archives or to recycle/shred, simply conduct a Transfer of the file(s) in your Paper Tiger database, print a Transfer report if needed, and then remove the physical files from your filing cabinet or desk drawer. (If transferring to archives, don’t forget to set the action date in Paper Tiger when a file should be removed from archives to recycle/shred. That way, you’re sure to keep up with the life-cycle of your document management system, and you don’t keep files too long.) Then box the files you’ve removed, label the box with the corresponding item number in Paper Tiger’s database as well as the date the contents should be recycled/shredded, and send to the archive location. You’ll want to box files to be recycled/shredded at the same time in one or more boxes.
For example, you may have financial files and legal files that need to be kept for 7 years, but you need to clear last year’s files to make room for the current year in your immediate file area. For all files that need to be purged in 7 years, place them in the same box or multiple boxes if there are that many, and label the box Archive 1 (or whatever the archive item number is in Paper Tiger), then write “Purge and shred December 31, 2020″ on the box or label. Your archive boxes can be placed in order of archive item number so that you’ll know where they are and which boxes should be purged on what date. If you’ve set the action date in Paper Tiger when a file should be removed from archives to recycle/shred, when you open Paper Tiger, a reminder flag will let you know which files or boxes need action next.
Making decisions regarding how paper should flow through your office and the life-cycle of document management and retention will go a long way in your staff time management, increased productivity and organization. As mentioned previously, when you document your paper handling system and retention guidelines (the schedule in the life cycle of documents in your office), you will reduce cost and legal liabilities. Keeping unnecessary files will result in over-stuffed filing cabinets or storage space. In addition, different types of files need to be kept or destroyed based on legal reasons and time-lines, which could result in civil or criminal issues.
See our Blog Category for Records Retention: How long should you keep records? for articles written from different sources, including the IRS, to help you decide document/records retention schedule for your specific needs.
Following are 3 simple steps that will help you get organized, but remember, these steps do not have to be done in one day. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be more organized and productive.
Each year we hear the same new year’s resolutions over and over again, “I’m going to exercise more this year” or “I’ll be nicer to my family this year” or “I’m getting organized this year”, but sadly most of us drop these resolutions within the first thirty days of the year. One of the most popular resolutions that people make is to get organized. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) named January “Get Organized Month” or “GO Month” in 2003 with an initiative to help people with organization and productivity. According to NAPO, the bulk of their clients request help with organizing their home offices.
It’s safe to assume that clients are referring to paper clutter in the office. Paper Tiger Filing System Software is the perfect tool to help you be more organized, as well as be able to actually find things this year. Afterall, it is not enough to get your paper files and other things organized, but you also have to be able to retrieve what you need when you need it.
It’s all about taking the first steps to get started. The first step is making the commitment so that your life will begin to be less stressful and more productive. Before you know it, you’ll actually have more time for yourself.
Eliminate the frustration you experience every time you try to locate an important document and cannot find it amidst the disorganized mess acting as your “filing system.” We receive calls and emails all the time from people telling us that they have stacks and stacks of files that is causing more stress than it’s worth and need help getting organized. Paper Tiger Filing System software helps companies, non-profits, government agencies, professionals and individuals all over the world get control of something they hate…filing the paper on their desk & in their office, and can help with the life-cycle of document management. And since Paper Tiger is Not Just For Filing Paper, imagine all the other rooms of your home and office that you can get organized. Paper Tiger’s basic concepts will help you master the software in a matter of minutes; bringing your organization troubles to an end, making it easy to keep your resolution for the entire year.
Paper Tiger may be one of the best investments ever as far as time is concerned. How much time do you think you waste on average looking for something? Each year people waste hours and entire days looking for something. Experts estimate that people waste 150 hours per year searching for lost items. Calculate your cost of disorganized here. A small investment in Paper Tiger will save not only time, but also money. How many times have you paid a bill late, because you lost it? Every time a document is filed and indexed into Paper Tiger, you can feel sure that you will be able to find it again quickly and easily. The days of trying to figure out where a document was left or what name it was filed under are over! With Paper Tiger’s search engine like feature, type in a few keywords when you file documents, will help you find exactly the document needed with a quick search when you need to retrieve it.
If getting organized was at the top of your New Year’s resolution list, look no further; Paper Tiger is here to help. Its resourceful system will be so easy to use, it will be hard to stop organizing! The ability to organize paper files and other physical items, will not only clear up clutter on your desk, but also anything that you can put a number onto.
During this “Get Organized Month,” take advantage of the expertise of one of the productivity consultants that are Paper Tiger experts who can help you work more efficiently in every area of your life. They will work with you either virtually or in-person, whichever you need, and will help you to get organized and create a customized system for the way you work.
Reduce the stress and anxiety you are probably feeling without even realizing it from having your home or office in disarray. Make this year the year you completely organize your life. All the time and money wasted from disorganization will be returned on your simple investment in Paper Tiger, and you’ll be able to keep at least one new year’s resolution.
Paper Tiger Filing System Software can help you get organized in more than just paper files so you won’t have trouble finding anything. Getting storage areas organized may seem even more of a daunting task than tackling your paper files, but it can be rewarding and help to declutter your life. Even if you already have your boxes stored in an organized manner, you may not remember what is in each one. In fact, you can index any physical item that you can put a number onto. You can get organized, not have to worry about putting things away, and you’ll be able to find them again!
You may have things in an attic, a garage, a basement, a storage shed on your property and some belongings in a rented storage unit. One of the biggest problems people have with their belongings is not even knowing what they have. So, if you are looking for a particular tool and cannot find it, you may end up buying another one and wasting money. People invest a good deal of money into certain things they may only use once in a while, but when you need it, you should be able to locate it.
The best thing to do for organized living is to get an idea of what you need access to on a regular basis. You will need to decide what items you don’t want to keep in the house, or no longer have room for, and what can be stored in the basement, attic or storage building. You may want to take one room at a time to pull out things that should be stored. Then when you’re boxing the items to be stored, index them into your Paper Tiger database. Filing system software works great for this, because you can inventory and index what you actually have in the location you decide for storage, and what storage box or shelf the item is located. Then when it comes time for finding an item, you can simply conduct a quick Google-like search in your Paper Tiger database and know exactly where it is located. This will save you countless hours, because you won’t have to sift through everything before finding the needed item.
Box up smaller loose items and mark the box with a number. If you use Paper Tiger filing system software, you can keep track of what is in each of those boxes. You won’t have to sift through tons of boxes looking for that one particular thing if you know from your inventoried list which box number to find it in. Each box would represent an Item number in your Paper Tiger database, and the keywords would be the items in the box.
Keep items that you use the most close to the entry doors of the storage area and the rest can get packed in neatly. Take care to avoid storing anything that may not hold up well to weather issues, if possible. These types of items, or those you don’t use often but want to keep, will need to be stored in-house or can go to a climate-controlled offsite storage area.
The important part really is to use Paper Tiger filing system software to keep track of what you own, what you are storing and where it is being stored. Indexing your items into this filing system will ensure that you know exactly where these things are, before you end up buying another one because you can’t find the original.
Documentation of your belongings also helps other people who may need to gain access to things for you. If you want an organized life, organizing storage areas is a great way to declutter your home and life.
There are so many uses for Paper Tiger because it is not just a filing system for your paper files, but can index any physical item. It would not be easy to give examples for everything, but we will give a couple of examples here that will hopefully give you the general idea. Just know that if you can imagine being able to put a number onto whatever type of item that you want to inventory or index, you can let your imagination run.
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!
Now ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep.
Many times these words of the Kenny Rogers classical song describing “The Gambler” come to mind when working with clients who just can’t find enough time to tackle all the items on their lists. Consider that your “deck”, or time allotment, never changes. It comes with 24 hours. To Do lists can become lengthy and overwhelming, and with the long list comes guilt at not getting it done. People gamble on having enough time to do everything, but reality is that, within those 24 hours, it isn’t possible.
What helps to separate the winners from the losers is the ability to prioritize their work, accomplishing the “important” tasks that need to be done. The important tasks, those aces to keep, are the ones that make a difference in the growth of your company or in moving you closer to your personal goals. Consider the following two scenarios.
Scenario One: You walk into your office in the morning to a cleared desk. You prioritized today’s work the night before, so when you sit down at your desk, you already know what your first chore is. Closing your door for an hour and a half and/or limiting interruptions, you work out all the details on the biggest project. By 11 a.m., it’s wrapped up and ready to deliver. Then you settle down and work on the other scheduled items for the day, in order of priority. When it’s time to go home, you know you had a productive day. You leave feeling accomplished.
Scenario Two: You walk into your office in the morning and look at all the stacks of papers around you, along with an overflowing inbox. Trying to decide what it is that you really need to do today, you have to look through the stacks to see what has become so urgent that it can no longer be put off. Before you begin, you check your email in case there’s something important. After 45 minutes of skimming through accumulated email to decide which ones can be postponed, you take a break. Taking fifteen minutes for a couple of social conversations on the way from the coffee station, you are back at your desk. It’s time to decide what to do. The piles are looming, so you choose several smaller items that don’t take too much effort to get done. At the end of the day, someone asks for your work on the project that is due tomorrow, and you start to panic. How can you get all of that done by the deadline? You are now facing another late night of work, loss of sleep, and stress at the pressure.
So what can you do to change from Scenario Two to Scenario One?
…‘cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser….
If you’re gonna play the game…ya gotta learn to play it right.
You got to know when to hold ‘em (do now), know when to fold ‘em (do later)
Know when to walk away (delegate) and know when to run (discard)
Have you ever tried to “get organized” only to be frustrated after a day, or a week, or a month? Destination: Organization recognizes that reaching your organizing goals is a journey, not a one-time event, as you develop processes to cope with daily demands that constantly change. For help, call Denise at (281) 397-0015
Denise shares her experience and expertise in developing effective, efficient systems to deal with daily workloads and to cope with periods of rapid growth, helping businesses and individuals accomplish more through effective office organizing systems. Her education background in human services lets her tie in the business aspects with individual personalities to produce a unique model for each situation.
Tidy Tiger Solutions, Michelle Panzlaff, a Professional Organizer and a Certified Paper Tiger Experts, created this video to provide helpful advice for getting organized to busy professionals, homeowners, families, and students alike.
Click here to watch Michelle’s organizing challenge video to learn about these organizing obstacles and start applying techniques to help you feel less stressed and get more done!
The fact is it can be hard to get started. When trying to get and stay organized, there is a wide variety of things that can get in our way. The good news is there are ways to solve this dilemma.
Also in this video, see how Michelle combines 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.
Learn more about the organizing products and 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
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)
A home based business can be a fun, rewarding and profitable venture. For some people, this may only be a sideline project, while others utilize it as their main source of income. Whatever you choose to do, keeping your inventory in order is most essential. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to delay or cancel a sale because the merchandise cannot be located. Not only does it make your business look unprofessional, it can end up costing you.
Whether you sell collectible sports memorabilia on eBay, handcrafted jewelry on Etsy, or have your online business through your own website, it is important to come across as professional to your customers. This is what helps you earn new customers and keep them coming back as repeat clients. A huge majority of what helps potential customers decide whether or not to buy from you is your customer feedback and ratings. If you have had issues shipping things to customers in a timely manner because you have trouble locating your inventory, you aren’t likely to earn favorable customer ratings. In order to keep your customer orders moving quickly and efficiently, you should use Paper Tiger Filing System Software to set yourself up for success.
Being a successful entrepreneur means taking your business seriously and keeping your customers satisfied to the best of your ability. Plenty of people have made the choice to sell things online through Amazon, eBay, Etsy or their own online storefront. Nothing is more exciting than when those orders start rolling in. Unfortunately, nothing is more frustrating than realizing you cannot recall where you stored that particular item.
Most home based business entrepreneurs keep bins of inventory in their garage, attic, basement or even at a rented storage unit off their own property. It can be next to impossible to recall which location a particular item may be in, or even which bin you may find the item in, if you can’t narrow down where it may be. This is not only frustrating, but very time-consuming when you have to search through several boxes or locations for an item. Paper Tiger can change all of that.
To use Paper Tiger, all you need is some sort of storage containers or boxes that can be numbered; it is as easy as that. If you have box #1 filled with handmade jewelry, you can list in your database all the bracelets and necklaces, and alternate search terms that could be related to the items, and then also make note of where that bin will be located. When you sell a set of earrings, any of these keywords should help you figure out what box they are in and where the box is located.
Another example would be, if you have a stamp collection, you could index them in Paper Tiger and note which page each stamp is on. Such as, in your Paper Tiger database, you might have a Location named Stamp Collection. In this Location, each Item Name would relate to a page in your stamp collection book.
Item Name = Page 1, then in the keywords section, list all stamp names and relating information to each. Then you’d just number each page in your stamp collection book.
Whatever your items, indexing in Paper Tiger saves time and could even help save sales you would lose otherwise if you can’t find an item. Make your home based business that much more successful by managing your inventory with Paper Tiger Filing Software.
Good organization paired with Paper Tiger Filing System Software is more than for just your business. Carry this over into your office or personal home space also. For example, keep your paper files and your office supplies indexed in this manner and you will never again have that frustrating and frantic search for the file that you need to reference, or have to search where you have extra pens or printer paper. Set yourself up to be organized in every aspect of your professional and personal life, and you can practically guarantee you will have success in your home based business or any other kind of business.
Sherry Borsheim, a Paper Tiger Expert of Simply Productive, gives us a great clutter busting strategy to get organized, and to stay organized. Sherry also recommends and helps implement Paper Tiger filing system software for document management for not only organizing paper files at home and office, but organizing other physical items because anything that you can put a number onto, you can Paper Tiger. If you need help busting through your clutter in your home or office, get ahead of the September rush of back to school and get your kids and home organized now. Click here to learn more about Sherry’s special offer!
As I was helping a teenager get her room organized for back to school, and she asked me “is your home organized?” And my reply was “yes, I practice what I do with you.” Then she asked me “what are the best rules of thumb for staying organized?” My reply was, “well, there are several rules of organizing that I use in my office, home and life and when you use these on a regular basis, staying organized gets easier and easier.”
The look on her face said it all “relief and hope” that she too could keep her room organized long after I left.
I shared with her how appling a few organizing rules on a regular basis was the key to keeping her room organized long after I left. And how she could apply the same rules to planning her school schedule and finding time for her hobbies.
Sometimes all we need is to get pointed in the right direction, learn a few useful skills and you’re on your way!
I’ll be the first to admit that getting organized can be a process and not easy at times. But with regular maintenance, and a few clutter busting tips, staying organized gets easier and easier because you won’t want to go back and do the hard work again.
In this week’s S.O.S. (Simple Organizing Solutions), you’ll learn my best clutter busters for your home and how to apply certain rules to stay organized for years to come!
This one rule of thumb for organizing can change your life and help free up extra space in your home. Click the link to read on:
When you apply this one rule of thumb, on a regular basis, letting go gets easier and the rewards can be very satisfying!
As always, keep it simple and be organized!
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 so you can get 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.