Whether you’re just starting a new business or you’ve been in business for years, you will always be able to manage your time more efficiently when you have an organized office. Paper Tiger Filing System Software is a system for office organization, which is being used in companies of all sizes, ages and types. Employees won’t be wasting time searching for paper files when they could be doing things that are much more productive, thus saving companies money while increasing productivity.
No matter how electronic (translated as “paperless”) we claim to be, we find that 80% of companies are still struggling with stacks of papers. So if you are still trying to organize your paper files with the traditional alphabetical filing system, and you are still having trouble finding documents when you need them, consider implementing (and using) Paper Tiger.
Paper Tiger allows you to maintain your paper files that you need to keep in hard copy format. You can keep your paper in its original form (you do not have to scan it), but simply index your paper files into Paper Tiger’s database and use the power of the computer to quickly and easily find the information when you need it. You can index anything in Paper Tiger; it’s not just document management! Some things just can’t be scanned, i.e., passports, contracts, binders, books, flash-drives, CDs, DVDs, etc. That cannot be done with systems that require scanning into an electronic file. The beauty of Paper Tiger is that keywords allow anyone in the office to find the document that might have been named many ways by many employees.
You have three types of files that you deal with every day:
- Daily Action: Things needing to be done; daily tasks; tickler/follow-up file
- Project Files: Active folders that are ongoing for a specific period of time (see ‘3 Types of Action Files‘)
- Reference Files: Nothing more needs to be done on that item, but you want to keep it for possible future reference
The strength of Paper Tiger relates to the last type of file. Whether you are dealing with your own files within your office space or with a company-wide document management system that encompasses rooms of file cabinets, Paper Tiger can help. It provides you with the two required features of a strong filing system:
1. You can find anything you need, whether it is six months from now or five years from now, and you can find it within seconds!
2. You can quickly tell someone else how to find the required material.
Paper Tiger is simply a software program that allows you to catalog your paper documents, and the computer then uses its search capabilities, to pull up your keyword and point you to the correct folder in your desk or file cabinet.
When using Paper Tiger, you eliminate many of the factors that make filing difficult or the reason filing is put off until the paper stacks begin to build beyond control:
- What do I name this so that I can remember how to find it? Call it multiple names, listing all keywords you might possibly think of when trying to locate the document again. Add keywords when necessary.
- I don’t have the right colored folder. Purchasing different colored folders as a way to categorize files in the hopes of narrowing down our search later is completely unnecessary when using Paper Tiger.
- I don’t have time to create a tab for a new file. Your file folders are numbered and are made up in advance. Filing a new item simply becomes a matter of dropping it into the next open folder.
No matter how large or small a company, time management is a must. When people are wasting time searching for items, they aren’t being productive. Searching for files is a huge waste of time, especially when there is Paper Tiger to make the job faster and easier. The less time one has to spend searching for files, the more time can be spent doing things that are actually fruitful. The better you and your employees are at managing time, the more efficient your company. When documents are filed using Paper Tiger, various keywords are input, and anyone who has permission to access the database can conduct a quick search of keywords, and the needed document can quickly be retrieved. The keyword search can also work for returning the document to the correct file.
Of all of the office supplies you pay for, this software is one of the most important. In addition, Paper Tiger will virtually return the investment when the time wasted is put towards working! Allow Paper Tiger Filing System Software for office organization to help reduce wasted time, make filing less of a chore, and keep you and your employees working more efficiently.
Yes, it’s time for back to school already. Teachers are making preparations and gathering everything they need to get started. And parents are already shopping for school clothes and school supplies.
There are lots of things to do and think about when preparing for back to school. Preparation and making sure you have everything needed can cause some anxiety, and then to think about keeping it all organized is another issue altogether. You will want to have a place for everything and an organized system for keeping track of those things.
Organization is helpful in any situation, and getting organized is even more important when adding school schedule and activities to help keep sanity and manage the stress level to a minimum. If you can instill a system of organization in your children and follow the same plan yourself, then you won’t feel completely overwhelmed. Creating a place for all school items will help teach children to get in the habit of getting and staying organized, and they will see how much easier life can be when they are organized and plan ahead.
There’s sports schedules and phone lists, papers to sign, health records, music books, report cards, and precious keepsakes that tend to pile up around the house.
Then there’s the sports equipment, jackets, shoes, backpacks, lunch containers, homework, projects, and electronics that your children drop at the door when they come home from school or other activity each day. Times this by three to five kids and you’ve got a giant heap sitting on the floor on a daily bases.
After you’ve decided what paper files need to be kept, then index the keepers into your Paper Tiger Filing System 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 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: Health records (with necessary keywords)
Item Name: Report cards
Item Name: Awards
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 the end of the school year)
For any of the files or artwork that you’d like to box up for storage after the school year has ended, simply transfer the items in your Paper Tiger database to track where you’ve moved them. For example, you will most likely want to keep Health records and Report cards for all school years together, but move the other items specific to a school year out of your file drawer.
Maybe you have a file box or bin in the attic or basement where you keep “the best of the best” in storage, so you’ll create a ‘location’ in Paper Tiger for Susie’s Archives. Print out labels for the hanging file folders in Susie’s Archives. In your Paper Tiger database, you’ll select the items you want to move, such as Awards and Archives, then conduct a Transfer, Duplicate or Move function for these files to be transferred to Susie’s Archives. Then you’ll physically move the files for the school year just ended from your file drawer to the correlating file folders in the designated file box or bin in storage, leaving the hanging file folders in the original location in your file drawer.
For English, Math, History, and To Be Tossed, these can most likely be tossed out at the end of the school year. Simply delete or edit the keywords for each of these items as necessary.
Setting up Paper Tiger Filing System now will help you to eliminate clutter and get organized. If you decide early where everything should be kept, what you will do with the ‘keepers’ at the end of each school year, and maintaining the system of organization, each school year will be less stressful.
Of course, Paper Tiger is not just for your child’s school files, and it’s not just for filing papers. Anything that you can put a number onto can be indexed in Paper Tiger Filing System so that when you need something, you can conduct a search for the keyword relating to the item and find it quickly, as well as where to return the item when you need to put it away. You can live organized with peace of mind because you have a place for everything, and have implemented an organizing system that helps you find what you need, when you need it!
Since the time Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management was first developed to provide users Internet-like search access to the information stored in their file cabinets, we have found over the years that it’s not just for filing papers. Many organizing and productivity experts have worked with clients to help them implement Paper Tiger for organizing paper files, and also anything else they wanted to get organized for which they could put a number onto.
Anything can be indexed or catalogued into Paper Tiger’s database so that when you need something, you can conduct a search for the keyword relating to the item and find it quickly, as well as know where to return the item when you need to put it away.
No more ‘where did I put that?’ and searching all over! No more ‘I don’t want to put that away because I’ll never find it again’. You don’t have to live with clutter all around you! You can live organized with peace of mind that you’ll be able to find things again. You can declutter every room in your home and office because you can have a place for everything, and can implement an organizing system that helps you find what you need, when you need it!
Below is a list of 17 ways to get organized using Paper Tiger. There may be many other things you can number and be able to document in your Paper Tiger database, so use your imagination and get everything in your life organized!
Stephanie Calahan, of Calahan Solutions and a Paper Tiger Expert provided suggestions in how to use Paper Tiger for this list. Ms. Betsy from North Carolina, a long time user of Paper Tiger, also let us know that she maintains an inventory of the items in her freezer using the Action Date section to make sure she cooks the food by a certain date.
Are you using Paper Tiger for organizing other things? Let us know in the comments section below. We are sure others can benefit from your experience in getting organized with Paper Tiger Filing System software!
The new year is a great time to think of ways that you can improve your life — Getting Organized most always lands in the top 10 lists of New Year Resolutions.
The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) named January “Get Organized Month” or “GO Month” to increase awareness of the importance of getting organized and to help people with organization and productivity. According to NAPO, the bulk of their clients request help with organizing their home offices.
So if “getting organized” is such a priority for people, why do so many people struggle with this? We’re all flooded with information coming at us daily from many different directions. Having the information on hand is of little value, though, if you can’t find what you need when you need it. Getting organized and improving how you work can start with Paper Tiger’s simple indexing system. Organizing information in such a way that can be found in seconds is liberating, and frees us to do other things.
Paper Tiger Filing System Software is the perfect tool to get your year started on the right track if you are planning to stay organized this year. You can clear stacks of paper files and other clutter without worrying if you will ever find it again when you put it out of sight. Paper Tiger is a great solution for managing information, and enables you to file and retrieve hard copy documents, books, CDs, flashdrives, and other items – literally anything that you can put a number on – by using key words. And because you have an index to search, you’ll be able to return the item where it belongs as quickly as you retrieve the item.
Everyone including new hires with access to your database can conduct a quick keyword search, retrieve and return items – no worry – no hassle. You don’t have to rely on one single person to know where everything is, because the system can do the remembering for everyone, which saves time and keeps your business running much more smoothly and efficiently. Of course, this can also be applied to your home and family, as well.
Paper Tiger can also generate a file index report so you can print out a list with item name and keywords of all your files. The printed back-up allows for quick reference when the computer isn’t on.
If organization is at the top of your New Year’s Resolutions, look no further; Paper Tiger is here to help. This filing system is so easy to use, it will be hard to stop organizing! During this “Get Organized Month,” take advantage of the expertise of one of the productivity consultants who are Paper Tiger experts that 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.
Finally, 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. Whatever your motivation for getting organized – whether it’s to save time, eliminate clutter, increase productivity, or just find a better way to retrieve information – Paper Tiger Filing System software can help you right away.
Have you ever been on the road traveling and discovered you needed a file from your office? If you have your own system of filing, it could be a challenge to send someone to your office to look for what you need. And if your filing system consists of stacks on every flat surface of your office, it can get really tough to explain in which stack they should search. It’s time to get organized before you have to travel or be out of the office for any reason.
Would you like some help? You might already have Paper Tiger, but think you don’t have time to index your files. But how much time is it taking you to find what you need? With your current filing system, can you give your assistant the information needed to quickly and easily find the documents you need with a simple search in the database? I believe that if you invest the time needed to set up your filing system in Paper Tiger, you will quickly start to reap the rewards, not only saving you time, but money as well.
Small and large businesses, government agencies, non-profits and individuals worldwide use Paper Tiger Filing System software for document management to manage their filing. They have discovered a filing system that uses the power of their computer to solve their problems with finding things once and for all! These organizations and individuals have found Paper Tiger software to be an invaluable tool to help them better manage their office and get organized to stay on top of the virtual mountain of paperwork they must deal with each day. You get all the power of the computer without the risks and time commitment of paper scanning!
The indexing system is the way to go because it gives your employees the ability to find files when you, or the one or two people who know where everything is, are not in the office. It’s the ideal way to find what you’re looking for with ease. Just think how productive your staff can be when they can find what they need, when they need it without searching through stacks all over the office.
According to experts, getting organized and being able to quickly find what you need saves 150 hours a year. Yes, it will take time to create your index, but compared to the time spent searching for files, it takes much less time in the long run! The more you use the system, the easier it becomes. Start slow and work your way up to larger quantities of files. Before you know it, your entire office will be indexed!
Training is another big issue for some companies. They need to make the most of their time and money. The Paper Tiger indexing system is easy to learn and it’s easy to train others to use. We have free getting started videos and webinars on our Training page.
An indexing system for document management is worth every second of investment and time spent setting it up. You’ll see the difference almost immediately. You and your employees will be more productive, you’ll spend less time searching for files (or other physical items you decide to get organized), and you’ll spend even less time filing new documents or re-filing documents you’ve pulled.
After just a few days of using Paper Tiger, you’ll feel comfortable with it and you’ll wonder how you survived without it. You’ll feel better about your document management system and you’ll know you made a smart choice. You’ll also know you and your employees are more productive than you ever were before choosing Paper Tiger Filing System Software.
In addition, we thought you might find the articles below by Sherry Borsheim, a Paper Tiger Expert of Simply Productive helpful, in which you’ll find tips for planning a trip (vacation or business), and staying organized while traveling for business.
Paper Tiger Filing System Software is not just for managing paper files and documents. There are so many more uses for this amazing software! Go ahead and put Paper Tiger to work for you to better organize your life!
Based on a past American Express survey of small business owners, “getting organized” ranked among the top three priorities for new years resolution plans. Let’s face it, getting organized is one thing, but staying organized all throughout the year is another.
So if “getting organized” is such a priority for people, why do so many people struggle with this? We’re all flooded daily with information coming at us from many different directions. We save much of it because we believe we need it to do our jobs better or to respond to our customers more effectively or we might possibly need it again later. Having the information on hand is of little value, though, if you can’t find what you need when you need it. Getting organized and improving the functionality in how you work can start with Paper Tiger’s simple indexing system. Organizing information in such a way that can be found in seconds is liberating, and frees us to do other things.
The Internet has done wonders for improving our ability to find information. By doing a search of a few key words, we can instantly receive suggestions on where to find web sites containing the information we’re looking for. That’s fine if all you need is information from the Web. But what about the paper, books, articles, CDs and other information sources in your office that you’ve collected over the years? Wouldn’t it be great if you could find them as quickly as an Internet search engine can find web sites?
Actually you can! You can clear stacks of paper files and other clutter without worrying if you will ever find it again when you put it out of sight. Paper Tiger Filing System software is a great solution for managing information, and enables you to file and retrieve hard copy documents, books, CDs, and other items – literally anything that you can put a number on – by using key words. And because you have an index to search, you’ll be able to return the item where it belongs as quickly as you retrieve the item.
With traditional filing systems, you only have the one or two keywords on the file folder tab. But with Paper Tiger, you can input as many keywords as the file or item could be called or relates to, so you’re not limited to what fits on the tab.
As you create a new file, you simply type in one or more key words, (as many key words as you like), that come to mind regarding that file. The item number in your Paper Tiger database will match the number you place on the hanging file folder. (Or book, CD, box, or other physical item you’re indexing.) When you want to find it again, type in any of the key words associated with that file in the search box, and within SECONDS, your search tells you exactly where the item is located. Very similar to a Google search, except this search is your own personal indexing system.
Items you want to track can be divided into several locations – or groups of similar things – such as Action (your current project files or most active reference files), Reference (your less active reference files), Archive (your seldom used reference files that you need to keep for legal or historical reasons), Books, Magazines, Videos, CDs – whatever items you choose to store together.
Since Paper Tiger doesn’t rely on filing alphabetically, new items are indexed into the first available open file folder. For example, you toss documents from one file folder, that file is open for the next new document or set of documents.
Once you’ve indexed all the information by item name and keywords that you’ve input relating to each file or physical item, you can easily search and find. That makes it feasible to keep archived records off-site, perhaps in a storage facility, yet still know what’s in each container at all times.
When files need to be moved to archives, it’s a simple matter of transferring the items in the database to the new ‘location’ and then moving the physical files to the archives location.
Everyone including new hires with access to your database can conduct a quick keyword search, retrieve and return items – no worry – no hassle. You don’t have to rely on one single person to know where everything is, because the system can do the remembering for everyone, which saves time and keeps your business running much more smoothly and efficiently. Of course, this can also be applied to your home and family, as well.
Paper Tiger can also generate a file index so you can print out a list of all your files by name and keywords. The printed back-up allows for quick reference when the computer isn’t on.
Whatever your motivation for getting organized – whether it’s to save time, eliminate clutter, increase productivity, or just find a better way to retrieve information – Paper Tiger Filing System software is a great tool. Get organized today, and you will truly notice the benefits.
By now, you’ve probably heard the term ‘record retention policy’ or ‘document retention policy’. But do you have one? Or are you asking if you should have one? From our research, if you have any kind of business, (no matter the size or how many employees you have), you should definitely have a written policy for your document management and record keeping.
You might ask, “Why does it need to be written? I have a small business.” The simple fact that there are so many rules and regulations and requirements, from federal employment law, IRS, to state laws for different kinds of records, it is really hard to keep up with what you need to keep and for how long. Some records need to be kept permanently, and some only 3 years. Do you know what they are? It’s virtually impossible to remember, so do yourself a favor and create a written policy for the types of records you create, paper or electronic.
For individuals, it would be a good practice to have a written policy for maintaining record retention as well, because we all need to know what needs to be kept and for how long.
You’ll have a well-thought document to refer to and a methodical plan for maintaining your document management system. You won’t have to rethink the ‘how long should I keep this file’ every year. You can actually feel good when it’s time for a year-end purge of your files, because you’ll know what can be tossed and when.
You don’t want to get rid of a document, then find out later you need it. On the other hand, if you don’t have to keep documents for legal or tax reasons, and if you don’t have a good reason for keeping it, get rid of it. When in doubt, ask yourself some basic questions about why you might keep the paper file:
Just as important, for the documents you need to keep, is knowing how to file it in a way that is organized, but makes it easy to retrieve in a moment when you need it again. The fear of losing something important can cause anxiety. The fear of putting documents in the file cabinet instead of out where you can see it, can also be paralyzing when it comes to filing. The problem with that is there are too many paper files to leave out, and everything gets buried as the stacks grow and you lose it anyway.
None of what you keep will do you any good if you can’t find what you need at the moment you need it. See Customize Your Filing System With Paper Tiger’s Indexing Method for help getting started with an organized system for easy paper file retrieval. You will most likely be able to locate electronic files needed with a search in your email system or on your desktop or in your cloud digital file storage system.
There are several things you need to think about when creating a document retention policy. We’ve found a great Guide to Creating a Document Retention Policy (this guide will download to your downloads folder), from the National Federation of Independent Business, in which you will find what a document retention policy is and why you need one, as well as a step-by-step guide to creating your policy, including identifying what types of documents you produce that needs to be maintained, suggested retention timelines, and how documents should be destroyed when time limit has expired.
As stated, “A document retention policy (DRP) provides for the systematic review, retention, and destruction of documents received or created in the course of business. A DRP will identify documents that need to be maintained, contain guidelines for how long certain documents should be kept, and save your company valuable computer and physical storage space. In addition, a well-crafted DRP that is followed by your employees may assist your company in the event of litigation.” This is only a guide, so it is important that you identify the specific federal, state or local document retention provisions that apply specifically to your business and circumstances.
There is also a sample document retention policy from americanbar.org (this document will download to your downloads folder), that you might find helpful.
You may have your employees help you create your document retention policy, or you may have assigned the job to a manager. Whether the job of creating and maintaining a records policy is yours personally or someone in your organization, it should be championed and taken seriously when developing. Then when you have a written policy completed and approved, be sure that all employees know what to do with the records they create. Inconsistency of records management and destruction can be portrayed by opposing counsel as selective or arbitrary destruction of documents and can lead to serious legal damage rewards. It is important that all employees understand and be consistent in following the policy.
Employees will need to know:
For more information on record retention and document management, see our blog article:
Getting organized to better manage what you keep is imperative, whether it be paper files, contents of binders, or what’s in the file room or boxes in the basement, so that retrieving an item in a timely manner is efficient. To be able to work more efficiently is simply less stressful!
Many companies have one or more administrative employees whose chief function is to manage company records, and is dependent on the person who knows the filing system. Thousands of hours are literally eaten up with filing and then trying to locate specific information at a later date because the system used for document management is so inefficient or outdated.
One of the chief reasons companies still suffer inefficient filing systems is that every employee is different. People have their own thoughts about what filing should be, and their own way of managing and naming their files. So you have a variety of different methods being used within one company. There has to be a better way to organize your filing cabinets into a uniform, logical style that is standardized throughout your business, regardless of the size company you have!
Some statistics say that about 7 percent of all documents are lost or misplaced and have to be reproduced. Experts estimate that about 150 hours of employee time per year are wasted trying to locate missing files or documents. And even more time and cost to recreate the necessary information! At $20 an hour on average—because all levels of employees are involved in this process—that can easily add up to $3,000 per year or more, that you can save simply by using file indexing, like Paper Tiger Filing System Software to manage your files more effectively and efficiently.
And no matter how many people have access to your file cabinet, maintaining an organized and efficient filing system can be accomplished. When you invest the time to index your hanging file folders into your Paper Tiger database, everyone given access will be able to conduct a Google-like search to find what they need quickly, and just as important, also be able to know exactly where it should be re-filed.
It’s quite simple really. With Paper Tiger, you allow employees the access they require, according to your own policies, to use the software. You and your staff need to agree on a records retention policy as a guideline for the types of paper files you retain, how you want records kept and how long certain files should be kept. This policy should also transfer to your digital files as well. We have several articles already on records retention guidelines that you can use to assist you.
Paper Tiger is a file indexing system for your paper files or other physical items that has a search engine built in so that lost information is virtually eliminated in your home or office. You can keep your paper in its original form, (you do not have to scan it), and index the paper files that you need to keep in hard copy format. You would simply type in the information into the database relating to your paper files, or other physical items, to get organized so that you can find what you need when you need it, without time-wasting searches. Company name, common subjects, or other descriptions can be typed into your Paper Tiger database. Whatever works for you. Use as many keywords as you like. Each employee that has access to the software can also add keywords that they relate to each document or set of relating files.
Paper Tiger software consists of the following levels:
When you’ve indexed your items into Paper Tiger, and you need to find something later, you simply conduct a Google-like search in Paper Tiger’s database to find where the item is located.
This solves problems with filing or finding any physical item, such as:
It’s common knowledge that every document that comes into your office has to be managed in one of three ways.
The joy of indexing is that your filing cabinet now becomes your action file as well. You can create a file just for items that need action without forgetting where you put them, or failing to take action because you “forgot” about them. Then when you’re finished, you can move the file to an archive location or a more permanent file and leave an uncluttered desk ready for more important work. You can file it away and not have to worry about finding it later.
Once your projects are complete and files are no longer needed on a daily or weekly basis, they can easily be moved from your action file location to a reference file cabinet or archived in storage elsewhere. You can add, move, or delete items in your Paper Tiger database as needed to coincide with the action you’ve taken with the physical item, and a quick search in the database will tell you where they’re currently located, in case something needs to be retrieved later. Click here to see more information regarding how to manage Action Files.
In today’s society with constant Internet usage, video conferencing and urgent meetings are often called with little or no warning. Having an indexed file management system is ideal because you can quickly and easily retrieve every document in the office you need for an impromptu meeting or conference call. You’ll no longer be forced to make major decisions without having all the relevant information you need at hand. No more worrying about not being able to find a file because someone is out sick! Paper Tiger filing system software eliminates that problem.
Document indexing truly is efficient file management. It will save you time and money, and remember you’ll also be able to index other physical items such as office supplies, training manuals, books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Using Paper Tiger Filing System Software, you can index anything that you can put a number onto, (see Not Just For Filing Paper), so you can find anything anytime!
Organization is a major issue that many people face in both their homes and offices. If you have a filing system in place and are filing your paper documents, but you still can’t find anything, you may be making one of following mistakes that keep you from being as productive and efficient as you could be. With Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management, you can get organized quickly by indexing and filing the physical documents.
Keep in mind that being able to retrieve the files you need later is crucial. You will be rewarded with saving time and less stress for taking the time to index your paper files into Paper Tiger, because you’ll be able to find any file at the time you need it simply by searching the keyword that you input into the database previously. Paper Tiger’s flexible keyword indexing system frees users from dependence on others to locate files. So in an office environment, whether small or large business, you can avoid the dreaded disaster of not being able to find what you need when your staff takes vacation or is out of the office for other reasons.
Read on to find out what not to do when organizing your filing system.
By avoiding these filing mistakes, you will be more organized and you will be able to more easily maintain your office. Your organizing system paired with Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management will keep your files organized and help you quickly find exactly what you need.
Do you feel like you are the only person that has clutter and don’t have any idea what to do about it? Well, you’re not alone!
If you Google-search ‘statistics on clutter’, you’ll see there are enough stats to fill up this page, but here are a few to note:
With statistics like these, obviously you are not alone. Also obvious is the negative impact that clutter has in our lives. Knowing that productivity, budget, time and health are all affected, it is still overwhelming to think about how to declutter your world. So how do we fight the war against clutter?
Vision for end result: You may only have one room that collects clutter. You know, the proverbial ‘junk room’. Or clutter may be only on your desk or in every room. Whatever your individual situation, you need a vision as to what you want. Some experts suggest taking photos of every room in your home to see a different perspective. It may be there are items cluttering a space that you are overlooking everyday. While you’re thinking about it, also think about why you want it. Sometimes it is not enough to see and feel the pain point in your life in order to do something about it, but when you can have a vision for how it could be better and why or how it would make you feel if it were better, then you will have a better chance of getting started with the determination to get it done.
Prioritize: Don’t feel like you have to clear all the clutter in one day! Remember, the clutter in your life and the habits that got it that way didn’t happen overnight. Make a list of each room or area in the order in which you want to get organized. Decide what area is stressing you the most, and start there. Then schedule time on your calendar, allotting the amount of time you want to spend for each room. Some areas, like the garage, might take more than a couple of hours in one day, so schedule a couple of hours in two different days. It might even be helpful to create a plan of action for an area that is too overwhelming – making a list of what items you want to organize first, then second, etc., in an area so that it won’t seem quite so overwhelming.
Goal/project management & schedule: Set your goal and schedule your time. How many times have you thought, ‘I really need to clean out the garage, but it will take so long, and I have to do this and that, before I tackle that huge job’, and it just never gets done? It may help you to break down a big project into individual steps. For example, schedule an hour to sort through and organize the sports equipment on one day, then on another day, take an hour to sort through and organize the tools. You probably set goals for your business life all the time. It’s the same concept with things you need to do to get organized. Creating new habits and a new perspective need reminders to stay on course. So really, actually put the different project times on your calendar just like any other event in your life.
Willpower for action: Once you have your projects scheduled, make a commitment to yourself that you will stick to it until your vision comes to fruition. You may need help along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may need to reschedule a project, because life happens, but make sure to reschedule it on your calendar.
There are all those paper files, mail to go through, magazines, books, training binders, DVDs and video games to straighten up. When you remember that book you wanted to read while on vacation, it takes more time than it’s worth to find it! There are seasonal clothes to move to and from storage, if you can remember which bin in the basement that you’ve put them. You also have that treasured collection, some to showcase and some to store for safekeeping. And of course, the garage!
The good news is that you no longer have to procrastinate. By implementing Paper Tiger Online filing system software, you can now clear the clutter and feel confident to put things in their own place. Paper Tiger enables you to index physical items, and makes it easy to keep track of things. It will be so worth the time invested to clear clutter and get organized, because you won’t be wasting time searching for needed items. You’ll be able to find them again when you need them…in a matter of seconds with a quick search in the database.
If you had a folder for your car repairs and needed to refer to it, could you be certain you could find it when you needed it? Would you remember if you titled it car, auto, Honda or repairs? Did you actually get it filed or is it in that huge stack ‘to be filed’?
By implementing Paper Tiger filing system, you can type in all of those keywords and be able to find anything with a quick search in the database. The traditional alphabetical system has obviously worked, as long as you could recall the name you filed it under previously, that is – so maybe not as efficient as it could be. Using Paper Tiger Online filing system software takes all the confusion out of the equation, even if more than one person is using the system.
Paper Tiger can be used for paper files, but also for many other physical items. Anything that you can put a number onto, you can index with your filing system software. This is especially important for items that may be kept in more than one location. So, for example, if you are going to keep some collectible items on display and want to store some in your basement and others at a rented storage unit, this helps you recall which items ended up where. Each box would have an item number in your Paper Tiger database, and the contents of the box should be typed into the keywords section. All those items you keep cluttered in your home because you’re afraid if you put them away, you won’t remember where you put them, can now be stored somewhere else. When you need to retrieve an item, search your Paper Tiger database, and you’ll know where it is and what box number in seconds.
Go ahead, get started with the steps outlined above to clear the clutter. Before you know it, you’ll feel more organized and accomplished, and less stressed. You can live organized with peace of mind because you have a place for everything, you know where everything is, as well as where it goes when you need to put it back in its place. Clearing clutter will free up so much space and you can have your home and office back!
It’s no secret that there are multiple reasons we choose to get organized. More often than not, we connect being organized with being successful. The truth is, however, that one of the greatest benefits of being organized is time management.
If you’re constantly searching for things, you are wasting time and energy. When you are organized, you’re more efficient and productive, which in turn helps you to:
-Be more focused
-Be less stressed
-Appear more professional
-Able to meet deadlines
-Advance your business or career
-Have more free time
Of course, good time management is important both professionally and personally. It helps us accomplish what we need to do by the end of the day in order to begin the next day fresh and new. Above all, it enables us to have more free time to spend with our friends and family.
Experts tell us the average person wastes 150 hours every year looking for lost information. Without an organized filing system in place, you can’t accomplish what you need to in a timely manner.
Using Paper Tiger Filing System software helps you with time management because you can always find what you need with little or no effort. This indexing system can be used to organize almost anything that is composed of multiple items, because anything that you can put a number onto, you can index into Paper Tiger. For example, you can use Paper Tiger to organize:
-Work documents, paper files, hanging file folders
-Bills and expenses
-Family medical records
Paper Tiger can also help you organize and inventory:
-Sports memorabilia or other treasured collections
-Contents of storage bins, boxes
These are just a few examples to give an idea of the wide variety of things Paper Tiger can help you organize. The possibilities are endless, and the potential to get organized will be so beneficial.
Paper Tiger Filing System software can save you time and help you to be more efficient. Implementing and maintaining Paper Tiger’s database for everything you need to organize becomes the ultimate time management tool. You can stop wasting time searching for the things you need because you’ll be able to find what you need, when you need it.
Go ahead, implement Paper Tiger today! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much time you will save and how much more productive you’ll be.
Does organizing your filing system seem overwhelming? Are you thinking that converting your files to Paper Tiger filing system is just not worth it? Do you have an office full of stacks and stacks of paper to be filed and lots of file drawers to convert? Maybe the better question is, do you have trouble finding what you need, when you need it? Do you look in several hanging file folders when you need to find a file because you can’t remember the name you filed it under? Every time you have to do this, you’re wasting time. The time it takes to convert your piles and files is justified!
Retrieval is the main goal of a filing system. Paper Tiger is not just a filing system, it’s a ‘finding system’, so as long as you put in a few keywords for each hanging file folder, you will be able to find anything you need…and when you need it without time-wasting searches. A simple search in the database for whatever keyword you’re thinking of that day, will help you find the file quickly.
There is an initial investment of time to set up your new file system with Paper Tiger, but when you consider that the average person wastes 150 hours per year looking for lost and misplaced papers, even if it took two (8 hour) days to convert … that would be 16 hours vs. 150 hours. Therefore the time spent is well worth it because you will be so much more productive for years to come.
Click here to calculate your cost of being unorganized and estimate your return on investment.
Paper Tiger actually makes filing easier and quicker, because you set up the empty hanging files prior to filing, (a hanging file labeled with a number can be labeled ahead of time), so they are waiting in the file drawer to receive your paper files. When you’re ready to file, you don’t have to search for a hanging folder nor do you have to create a printed label at the time you create a new file.
Decide how much time you can devote to converting your filing system each day or week, and plan for it. Block the time on your calendar as if it were an appointment. Listed below are some plans of action for converting your filing system to Paper Tiger:
Note: If your hanging file folder has several items that you want to include into one Item Name in Paper Tiger, you would simply add keywords for all document items into the Keyword section of the same Item Name. In addition, you may want to separate the physical documents in the hanging file folder with manilla folders. In this case, you might also want to number the manilla folders and include the number that you input on the manilla folder with the coinciding keywords in the Keyword section.
Do a combination of the above in some way that will work best for you. When you’ve completed your filing system conversion to Paper Tiger, and you want to file something, you simply find an empty container (hanging file folder), or an existing container with other paper files on the same subject, put the paper in the folder, type in a few keywords, and you’re done!
You can go from this:
To organized and able to retrieve a file in seconds using Paper Tiger’s search engine:
No more worrying about what to name a file! No more worrying about filing it away because you might not remember what name you filed it under! Paper Tiger will pay for itself many times over, because you will:
Of course the frequency of filing to maintain your organized system depends on the amount of paper you have flowing through your office. You might decide to index the documents that need filing as they come in immediately instead of waiting to file a stack of ‘To File’ at the end of your day or once a week. Below is an example of how to file once a week after your Paper Tiger filing system has been set up, but if you have a lot of paper, you might consider following these steps in about 10-15 minutes at the end of every day. Whatever you decide is the timing and how long it will take you (daily or weekly), put this in your calendar as a regular reminder….and don’t be tempted to short-change yourself by skipping this calendar appointment. Otherwise, your ‘To File’ stack will get out of hand again!
Did you know Paper Tiger is Not Just For Filing Paper!? Basically, anything that you can put a number onto, can be indexed into Paper Tiger. Click here to see even more ways to use Paper Tiger to get organized. Paper Tiger Filing System software enables users to manage paper and other physical items to get organized more effectively.
It can be overwhelming just thinking about what you have to do and the decisions you have to make to get organized. 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, 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 an 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 a file under a name you don’t remember what you filed it under, or maybe you’re looking for 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 have held on to because we haven’t made good decisions about what to do with them. If you don’t try to figure out a system that will help you get organized so you can find what you need when you need it, you may come to realize that you’re only using 20% of what you can find!
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. Set yourself up for a maintenance plan that can be continued.
When using Paper Tiger, you have the decision as to how you want to differentiate your types of files by creating what we call ‘Locations’ in the database. A Location is a group of like items, and could relate to where you will store your physical items or could relate to the types of physical items that you plan to index (paper files, books, CDs, DVDs, storage boxes, etc.) Your Locations can be named anything you want – however you relate to what you are indexing, i.e., Office files, Home files, Action files, Reference files, House, Basement, Garage, etc. Paper Tiger uses Locations to represent these places where you store the items you want to be able to find later. For example, your Reference files Location might contain an index of all files in your 5 file cabinets of 4 drawers each, and Item #1 in Paper Tiger starts with the documents in the first hanging file folder in file cabinet 1, and end with Item #500 in with all documents indexed from the last hanging file folder in file cabinet 5. Or you could differentiate your paper files even further with additional Locations such as Clients, Financial, Administrative, Research, etc.
You decide what is best for the way you wish to file. Remember, Paper Tiger is not just a filing system, it’s a ‘finding system’, so as long as you put in a few keywords for each hanging file folder, you will be able to find anything you need…and when you need it without time-wasting searches. A simple search in the database for whatever keyword you’re thinking of that day, will help you find the file quickly.
Paper Tiger experts recommend starting with Locations named ‘Action’ and ‘Reference’. Later you can create an ‘Archives’ Location for those files that you can’t part with for legal or tax reasons, but need to be moved from your general file area. These items can be transferred from one Location to another in your Paper Tiger database so you can still find them if you ever need them.
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 for reference occasionally, but do not require action, can be indexed into your Reference file location. (See examples of 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 to someone you know or maybe a non-profit agency such as http://www.bearingsbikeshop.org/. If you can’t wear or haven’t worn some of your clothes or shoes in a year, then give them away to someone you know or maybe to Goodwill.
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.
Paper Tiger Filing System software combined with a proven methodology, enables users to get organized and manage paper and other physical items more effectively.
There seems to be a never-ending flow of paper coming in every day – whether it be mail, email, materials received from meetings, etc., and the piles accumulate so fast, it’s hard to keep up. You can’t let a day go by without taking at least 10 minutes to go through everything you receive that day. Having a plan for managing your paper flow will save you time. So let’s start with the actionable items.
When you have an action to perform, don’t stick the paper reminder in a stack of other action items. That will cause you to miss deadlines. Create a system that will help you stay on top of what you need to do. Hopefully the action filing system tips below will help you work more focused, organized and productive.
For every piece of paper that comes in, make a decision as to what needs to happen with it the first time you handle it. Sort through incoming paperwork each day, and drop into the appropriate file based on what you’ve decided and set up. Remember, paper clutter will build if you put off making decisions every day. Ask if the document requires some type of action…does it need to be paid, does it require a response, should it be filed or shredded/tossed. If it does not require action, decide if you can do without it and if so, toss it! If you can’t do without it, then file it appropriately in your reference files.
If you have a paper file that requires action by you, it becomes an Action File. There are 3 types of Action Files: 1) Temporary (Project-based) Action Files, 2) Permanent Action Files, 3) Tickler Action Files. Prioritize your action items. Decide if the action can be done immediately, and if so, just do it. If not, either delegate or check the deadline. Decide what type of action file and how long it will take you to complete the task. You’ll need to decide which type works best for you depending on how you work (your preference for work-flow). Project files are most always Temporary Action Files.
However some find that the Permanent Action Files and the Tickler Action Files can be interchangeable, meaning both could be used, but could also choose one over the other. It’s your choice. You decide what works better for the way your work. Once you’ve made a choice, either way makes it quick and easy to decide what to do with your daily paper management. Actionable items that are a one-time action instead of a project, could be placed in a Permanent Action File or a Tickler Action File. This might depend on your preference for the specific action…how you prefer to be reminded. If you want to place the action reminder in a follow-up date file, it more likely would better fit in the Tickler File category. Decide what date you want to work on this type action to be completed by the deadline (or in a timely manner), then place the reminder in the date in your tickler file you want to work on or review the reminder. (see Tickler Action File section below) If however, you would rather have all of your ‘Call’ action reminders in one folder, then a Permanent Action File for ‘Calls’ would be the way to go…your preference.
Tip: for any file that requires action by you, write the next action at the top of the page or on a sticky note to attach to that file so that you won’t need to rethink what needs to be done later when you choose to do what needs to be done. Example notes might be:
1. Temporary (Project) Action Files
Again, 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, and are input into your Action 1-10 or 1-25 folders, depending on the capacity of your Action Location in your Paper Tiger database. In the image below, there are 30 folders….Action 1-30. 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 a particular project.
If a Temporary project-based action file, go ahead and schedule the time on your calendar for the length of time needed to get the job done by the deadline.
For actionable items that are more of a project than a one-time action, and others in your office might need access to the file, 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.
2. Permanent Action Files
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, and they are not related to a project. 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.
Using this action file system, you can package and do the same actions together, such as phone calls, errands, to pay, to write, etc. You can make all phone calls, pay all bills due, map out errand route, write thank-you notes … emptying each folder before going to the next category.
Permanent Action File examples:
You might also have a hanging file folder divided with manilla folders or notebook divided with divider tabs for information needed for reference only, such as emergency contact information, frequent contact list, school calendars, sport team schedules, list of service providers, and medical providers. These would be files or information that you need ready at your fingertips, and where everyone in your home or office is acquainted with the location and information contained.
3. Tickler Action Files
Organizing for upcoming events or things that you need reminding of on certain days of the week/month can be done in a tickler file system, which has tabs for 1-31 for the days of the month, and January-December. Only those things that you might want to review prior to a specific follow up day or month, are those that you would want to index into Paper Tiger. For example, you have a wedding that you need to attend in a couple of months and you might want to review the invitation again for gift registry. You’ll need to remember if you put the invitation and any other relating documents in your tickler file or if you created a folder of its own.
When placing a reminder in a specific month, write the next action date and what the next action should be on that date on the upper right corner, then place in the month that you need to follow up or take action on that item. Doing this will save you time when you pull the item from the tickler follow-up because you won’t have to re-read the entire document again to figure out what’s next.
At the end of a month, you would pull items from the next months’ folder, and then use the action dates that you’ve written previously to input into the 1-31 for the upcoming month. Each day (or the afternoon prior to the next day…whichever works better for you), you will pull the reminders from that day’s follow up folder.
Below is an example of how a tickler file system might work with birthday cards. The principal will also work with your projects for which you plan in advance, or events that are in the future.
In your January-December folders, you can place birthday cards that need to be mailed in the respective months. All birthday cards that need to be mailed next month can be purchased ahead of time, then placed in next months folder. When next month arrives, take out the birthday cards, address them and then place them in the day (1-31 representing the current month) that you want to send them in the mail. For example, you want to put one of the cards in the mail on the 10th to arrive at the recipient’s location by the 13th, then you would put the card in the day 10 of the 1-31.
Other things that can be stored in your tickler file system are:
I think you get the point. Anything that needs follow up can be input in your tickler file system. You can create your own folder system (12 folders, one for each month of the year, and 31 folders or tabs, one to represent each day of month), or purchase an accordion file sorter from Smead.
Sherry Borsheim of Simply Productive explains in this video how to set up a desktop fingertip action file system for more efficient organization in your office.
Also check out this demonstration for info on how to make your own action filing system conducted by Stephanie Calahan of Calahan Solutions.
Paper Tiger Filing System software combined with a proven methodology, enables users to get organized and manage paper and other physical items more effectively.