Paper Tiger Blog

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The Paper Tiger Blog contains great ideas on better ways to stay organized, clear your desk, reduce stress and spend less time managing information.

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.

Make a Plan and Stick To It

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:

  • Block off a couple of workdays (or long working sessions) and get it over with. Plan ahead and make sure that you have an assistant; anyone who can type to enter data as you relay to them, will make the file conversion go much more quickly. Go ahead and create the Locations in your Paper Tiger database, print out the labels/tabs, and input the numbered tabs into your hanging folders (files you already have set up in your desk drawers and file cabinets, and new hanging folders for new files.) You tell your assistant which words to enter into the database for Item Name, Keywords, and Category, as well as other pertinent information for each file starting with #1 and forward. Then, you can write the Item Number onto the papers, and put the papers into the correlating numbered file.  This will also be a good time to decide file retention for each file and use the Action Date section to remind you to archive or trash after a predetermined amount of time.
    • Converting will be more difficult without an assistant, but it can be done. Also, you don’t have to add keywords for every piece of paper in a file if the file name contains the only word(s) you would ever look up to find it. (ex: invoices)
    • We suggest starting with the papers on your desk. Make a decision for every piece of paper.
    • Throw away what you can do without (if you can toss all the paper in your life and find it later on the Internet or get it from someone else, recycle!)
    • Does the paper require Action? If so, this becomes an action file. Decide what you need to do, either delegate, do it now, or schedule to do it later and file appropriately. Use the handy Action tabs that come with your shipment or printed from Paper Tiger to help you decide how to file Action items! You may also want to set up a daily and/or monthly follow up system to help you with dated items, which you should check daily. Or if it is project related, you might want to index the file into Paper Tiger to give it a temporary home. Click here to read more about Paper Tiger Action Files.
    • If you want to keep for later reference and it doesn’t require action, place in a stack to file (or tray labeled ‘To File’). These files that you will need to keep can be input in a Reference Location or you may decide to create a different Location to group like files together, such as Clients, Leases, Renewals, etc. Click here to read more about Paper Tiger Reference Files.
    • Remember statistically, 80% of our existing files are never referenced again, so as you are going through each file, and you know you haven’t referenced a file for several months (and probably won’t again,) decide if you can toss it or if it needs to be archived.
      • If a file needs to be archived, you can create a location called Archive within Paper Tiger,
      • Print out the labels/tabs for your new Location to insert into the hanging file folder tabs,
      • Type in the file item name and keywords in that Archive location in Paper Tiger,
      • Then pull out the file to be moved to wherever your archived files are located. The hanging file tab numbers will correlate to the item number in Paper Tiger.
    • Decide on the most important sections of your files and convert them immediately.
    • Continue through your desk drawers. If you’ve already input the numbered tabs in your hanging folders, you’re ready to type into Paper Tiger the item name and keywords for each file.
    • Go to your file cabinets next, one drawer at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be done!

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.

  • If blocking off complete days will not work for you, commit to working on a certain number of files per day. So if you had 150 files to convert and you said you would do 10 a day, in 15 days you would have it done. If you do this, you need to schedule the time in your calendar to do the conversion and then be disciplined about keeping these appointments with yourself. Otherwise your ‘To File’ stack will get out of hand again!
  • Or commit to a couple of hours a week or 1 drawer a day until the rest is done…whatever works for you.

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:

  • Save 150 hours or more per year per employee
  • Reduce file storage costs
  • Reduce employee start-up time by 50%
  • Give new hires immediate access to predecessor’s database and information files
  • Increase initial customer service response time regardless of who filed it
  • Reduce legal liability potential by adhering to legal retention guidelines. (Have you created a records retention policy for your office? If not, click here to learn more about Retention Guidelines: How Long Should You Keep Records?)


Maintain Your Organized Filing System

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!

  1. Pull out your ‘To File’ stack.
  2. Search your Paper Tiger database for an appropriate keyword for each document.
  3. If the file already exists, you will have a file number, such as Reference 12. Write  ‘R-12′ or ‘Ref-12′ in the upper right corner or on the back side of the document in light pencil, and set it aside.
  4. If you need to add keywords to the existing item in Paper Tiger, edit the item and add the keyword(s) for the appropriate file in the database.
  5. Then to the next document, search your database.
  6. If you need to create a new item in Paper Tiger for a document, decide which Location to add it. Go to that Location in the database, click New to add, and Paper Tiger finds the lowest available empty numbered file and assigns this file to that item number. Type in the item name and any keywords relating to this new file, and write the Location and Item Number in the upper right corner or on the back side of the document. Set it aside, and on to the next document to be filed.
  7. When you’ve gone through your ‘To File’ stack, the Paper Tiger database entry task is complete, now you can physically place the documents in the correlating hanging file folder, or you can have an assistant do the physical filing for you, by following the written Location and Item Number on each document.
  8. When you need to retrieve a file, you will search Paper Tiger for the keyword you’re thinking of that day, and you’ll be able to find it in seconds, regardless of who filed it. Also because you took the time previously to write the Location and Item Number on the document, you’ll know where to return the file when you’re done with it! Alternately, if you didn’t write the Location and Item Number on the document, you can search your Paper Tiger database to remind you where the document should be returned.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly converting your filing system can be completed….you just have to get started!

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.


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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.

Overwhelmed getting organized

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!

Work SMART!

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.

  • Does this need action on my part?
  • Does this need to be given to someone else for action? Delegate! Send it on, with instructions if needed.
  • Do I really need it? Do I need to keep it for tax or legal reasons?
  • What will happen if I throw/give it away, but need it again later? What is the worst thing to happen if I don’t have it? If it’s a paper file, does it exist elsewhere?
  • Is it recent enough to be useful? Or if physical other than paper, have I used this in the last 6 months? If not, ask if there is a more convenient place for this item, or could it be more beneficial to someone else.
  • Do I love it? If you don’t love it, decide to give it away or toss it. If it is something that causes you emotional turmoil when asking these questions, is it something that you could take a picture of for the memory, and then let it go?

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:

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

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

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

Work the SMART system and get organized quickly!


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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.

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. 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.

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.

Temporary (Project) Action Files

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.

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. For example:

  • Call file: after the call has been made, you can enter the phone information where you keep your contact information, then throw away the message reminder. Note: Call reminders could possibly be input in your tickler file system instead to be reminded on the date you need to return a call.
  • Expense Reimbursement: after you have turned in your expenses for a trip, and you have received payment, you can file it in your Reference Location, Expense folder for your records. Alternately, you can scan and shred the physical paper file.
  • Do you have a task that needs completing every month? Then you might have a permanent action folder for this specific task in which you need to pull the instructions for the task or the documents from the previous month.
  • Do you have forms that you use frequently? Then you might have a folder or multiple folders for these forms that might be in your permanent action drawer.

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 on 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:

  • Bills to be paid
  • Receipts for your next expense report
  • Invitations/tickets to special events, directions to the location
  • Action notes regarding gifts that need to be purchased
  • RSVPs and registrations that need to be sent
  • Phone calls and other to-do’s that need to be done on a certain day
  • Meeting or appointment materials

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.

Natalie Conrad does a great job demonstrating how a tickler file system works in this video in which you might find helpful.

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

Work the SMART system and get organized quickly!


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Your garage may not look like the picture above, but remember the time when you were able to park at least one car in your two car garage? Or maybe your garage has been in a state of disarray for as long as you have owned your home. Many homeowners make the mistake of putting boxes of things that need to be sorted in the garage, waiting for a better day when there’s more time. You might have moved into your new dream home and throw all the boxes of things you intend to sort through later in the garage (or maybe the attic or basement or other storage area). Of course, time never allows for you to do any of that sorting, and before you know it, the garage is one big project that keeps getting pushed back on the to-do list.

What you really need to get your garage organized is the one thing that can help make the entire task as simple as could be. Make it your goal to implement a plan of action and Paper Tiger Filing System Software to get your garage organized so you can find everything later, not just cleared for the sake of clearing. You can get this task completed, and you’ll not have to worry about finding items again. If you are ready to de-clutter and finally check your garage organization off of your to-do list, let this be your guide for getting started.

Be Realistic for an Organized Garage

The best way to get started is to realize it is necessary to be realistic and honest, and begin to tackle the garage by dividing up the clutter contained inside into different categories. Choose what goes into the “keep” pile and what goes into the “get rid of” or “give-away” pile. Remember, the more belongings you can cut down on and reduce the amount of clutter, the easier maintaining an organized garage will be. The items you can part with can be sold at a garage sale or on eBay, or you may choose to donate these items.

You can sort the items you are keeping and keep them organized, as well as be able to quickly find them again, by using an indexing system like Paper Tiger. An indexing system is a way for you to catalog all the items you put into a bin or box by adding all relating keywords for each item into the database, and then when you need to find an item later, conduct a keyword search and you’ll know where that item is located quickly and easily. So if you number your storage containers and enter the content information into your filing system, later you can search for “Phillip’s Head Screwdriver” the same way you type keywords to search for intangible items on Google. Your indexing system will bring back search results that tell you what bin number the item is and even where the bin is, based on the information you’ve input previously.

Then Maintain Your Organized Garage

Once you have your garage on the path of de-clutter, your indexing system should be set up to keep it this way. Implementing Paper Tiger Filing System Software will make it easier to maintain your organized garage. Make sure you and anyone who uses the filing system to find and retrieve an item, return the item to where it belongs to maintain your organized system and prevent confusion later. If you add or remove an item, keep your indexing system updated. Once you have things in order, you may even be able to get back to parking at least one car in your garage, or convert it into a rec room the entire family can enjoy.

Emphasis on Excellence, The PhD of Productivity™Meggin McIntosh, “The Ph.D. of Productivity”™ and a Paper Tiger Expert, demonstrated a great example of an organized storage area in her webinar at Paper Tiger Webinar hosted by Meggin McIntosh. Please view the entire webinar as Meggin demonstrates how she uses Paper Tiger to keep her office and training items organized. Using Paper Tiger is one of the reasons she is so productive, simply because she can find what she needs, when she needs it. The section of the webinar that she shows her storage unit is not her garage, but the same concept would be used in any storage area. If you want to view the storage area only, allow the webinar to load, then click in the webinar duration bar and move the timeline button to about 47 minutes into the webinar.


Example:  Shelves in Garage (or Basement, Attic, or other storage area)

  1. You can name a Location in Paper Tiger ‘Basement Shelves’ or ‘Basement Boxes’.
  2. Print out labels from the database to be affixed to the boxes or plastic tubs on your shelves. (Labels will be numbered like Basement Shelves 1, Basement Shelves 2, Basement Shelves 3, Basement Shelves 4, etc. The name on the label will depend on what you name the Location, and the number is the item number in the database…the name of your ‘Location’ and sequential item numbers. For example, if you name the Location ‘Basement Boxes’, the labels would be Basement Boxes 1, Basement Boxes 2, Basement Boxes 3, etc.)
  3. For box #1, click on ‘Add Item’ in Paper Tiger ‘Basement Shelves’ Location. (when you add an item, Paper Tiger will assign a number to that item, so in this case Basement Shelves 1.)
  4. Enter Keywords for all contents in box #1, such as blankets, pink flower cushions, sheet set, shelf 1, 1st row. Going down the shelves, box #2, click Add Item, then add keywords for all contents in box #2, shelf 1, 2nd row. Continue for each box. If you’d also like to assign an item # to things not in a box or tub, you can do that. You can also type in the shelf location for a keyword, such as what I did here: shelf 1, 1st row.
  5. Match Label Numbers and Item Names: Make sure the label number you affix to each box (or item not in a box) matches what you input for the Item Name/keywords in Paper Tiger.

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Efficient filing system to get organized.

Everyone has a need to get organized and manage their records and many other physical items, whether it be paper files, contents of binders, or what’s in the file room or basement, so that retrieving an item in a timely manner is efficient.

Many companies have one or more administrative employees whose chief function is to manage company records—often, in an archaic and unmanageable system, 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 all intertwined 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 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.

So you’re probably wondering, “How does an indexing system work to manage paper files?”

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.  Company name, common subjects, or other descriptions. 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 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 use the power of the computer to 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. After all, retrieval is the goal when you file something away, right!? Well, maybe there are multiple goals, such as 1) getting the file off your desk and 2) organized in such a way that you can easily and quickly retrieve it when it’s needed again.

Paper Tiger software consists of the following levels:

  • Database which is a group of locations, categories and items.
  • Locations are made up of Item names, description, capacity and review frequency. Location 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. Paper Tiger allows you to print cut-out tabs or Avery labels which you use to mark your physical items to match the index numbers assigned by Paper Tiger, i.e., Reference 1, Reference 2, Reference 3, etc.
  • Item Name is the descriptive name you give a hanging folder or other item you are indexing. “Museum Board Directory” might be the Item Name you give a folder that contains a current phone and address list of museum board members. “Sales Reports” might be the Item Name you choose for a folder containing each regional sales report. A folder or Item Name labeled “Warranties” might include sub-files for “Electronics,” “Major Appliances,” and “Outdoor Equipment.” Your Item Name might also be the names of Books, CDs, DVDs, Collection Items, etc., within Locations under these. See also the Many Uses of The Paper Tiger. Note: multiple relating documents can be added to the same hanging folder. You do not need a different hanging folder for each piece of paper. Simply edit the existing item in Paper Tiger and add additional keywords as necessary when you’re adding a file.
  • Keywords: Type all keywords associated with the item, such as receipts or contracts or what the book is about, etc. When you need to find the item later, you can search by keyword. The more keywords you enter, the easier it will be to find the item later.
  • Notes (optional): You can add additional comments in the Notes section if you wish.
  • Category (optional): If the item falls into a category, tab to the Category field and type in or select a category you’ve already created from the drop-down box. Category is a word or words you may use to classify groups of related folders or items. For example, you may use the Category “Benefits” to classify the Folders, “401K,” “Stock Options,” and “Day Care.” The Category, “Services,” might include Folders for “Accountant,” “Graphic Artist,” and “Organizing Consultant.” The Category “Self-Help” might include all your books that relate to self-help or motivation.
  • Action Date (optional): If there is a future date in which you want to review this item, or if this item will require your action, tab to the Action Date field and type the date or click on the calendar to select a date. When you open or sign into Paper Tiger, you will be alerted that you have Reminders.

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:

  • You can’t decide what to name something because it could be named so many different things;
  • You don’t like making new folders when you need to file;
  • You can’t remember where or what name you filed something under previously;
  • Staff or family members sharing files or other items, everyone thinks differently and anyone can search a keyword;
  • Staff turnover or the one person that knows where everything is gets sick or is away for a time;
  • Organizing other physical items, such as contents of boxes so you don’t have to worry about being able to find items later.

So for paper files, every single file will be labelled using the exact same system. And duplication of files are virtually eliminated. From the day you implement this brilliant, time saving system, every document relating to a project will be placed in the same location for easy retrieval.

It’s common knowledge that every document that comes into your office has to be managed in one of three ways.

  1. It can be dealt with immediately and then filed.
  2. It can be delegated to someone or scheduled for future action.
  3. Or it can be tossed.

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, and a quick search in the database will tell you where they’re currently located, in case something needs to be retrieved later. No more worrying about not being able to find a file because someone is out sick! Paper Tiger filing system software eliminates that problem.

In today’s contemporary 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 “lay your hands on” every document in the office you may 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.

Document indexing truly is the most contemporary method to efficient file management. It will not only save you time and money, but it will make for much happier employees, (including yourself), who can spend so much less time handling files and documents in the office. And remember you’ll also be able to index other physical items such as office supplies, training manuals, CDs, DVDs, etc. Paper Tiger Filing System Software can index anything that you can put a number onto, Not Just For Filing Paper, so you can find anything anytime!


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Whether you’re just starting a new business or you’ve been in business for years, getting your office organized will help you with time management. Can you imagine having to search through this desk everyday to find something, or actually getting anything done?

Paper Tiger Filing System Software for office organization is being used in companies of all sizes, ages and types. When Paper Tiger has been implemented, employees won’t be wasting time searching for paper files when they could be doing things that are much more productive because they can find what they need, when they need it, thus saving money while increasing productivity.

Office Organization for Your Paper Files

Paper Tiger allows companies to maintain their paper files that they need to keep in hard copy format. Simply index your paper files into Paper Tiger’s database by typing in the item name and any additional keywords that relate to your documents, and use the power of the software to quickly and easily find the information when you need it. You can index anything with Paper Tiger; it’s not just document management! Some things just can’t be scanned, i.e., passports, contracts, binders, books, 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 everyone to find the document that might have been named many ways by many employees.

Time Management Is Important

No matter how large or small a company, time management is a must. It is costly to your business when people aren’t organized and productive. Experts say that the average person spends over 150 hours per year, just looking for lost information. Some estimates are even higher! Searching for files is a huge waste of time, especially when there is Paper Tiger Filing System Software 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 maintaining an organized office and managing time, the more efficient your company.

Click here to calculate your cost of being disorganized, 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. An organized and productive system will help you manage your time more wisely.

Allow Paper Tiger to help with your office organization to save time and money.


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You might have thought Paper Tiger was just for organizing paper! But actually, you can index virtually any physical object into your Paper Tiger database that you can put a number onto, such as binders and other items you have stored in boxes. Paper Tiger Filing System Software can help you get organized so you won’t have trouble finding anything. Organizing storage areas 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. 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 quickly. You can get organized, not have to worry about putting things away and you can be sure to find them again!

It will take a little effort to get things in order to begin with, but once you invest this initial work into the project, you will be so glad you did! There are varying estimates based on different surveys and research, but experts agree that the average person wastes a considerable amount of time searching for things they’ve misplaced. We’ve been told that an average American spends over 150 hours per year, just looking for lost information (paper files or digital files), in addition to searching for other physical items, such as keys, eye glasses, tools, etc. Some estimates are even higher than this! Based on a 260 day year (not considering holidays, personal days, etc., and let’s say you never search for anything on the weekends…), that is almost 35 minutes per day, 2.9 hours per week and 12.5 hours per month!

Organizing and Searching for Paper Files

For those paper files that you need to keep in hard copy format, index into Paper Tiger by typing the item name and keywords relating to those documents. Click here to see more details on how Paper Tiger works with paper files, as well as suggestions on how to file.

Organizing Storage Areas So That Finding Is Not A Problem

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.

How to Make Searching and Finding a Snap

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.

Example:  Shelves in Garage

  1. You can name a Location in Paper Tiger named ‘Garage Shelves’. I’m going to use the example pictured above.
  2. Print out labels from the database to be affixed to the boxes or plastic tubs on your shelves. (Labels will be numbered like Garage Shelves 1, Garage Shelves 2, Garage Shelves 3, Garage Shelves 4, etc.)
  3. For box #1, click on Add Item in Paper Tiger Garage Shelves Location. (when you add an item, Paper Tiger will assign a number to that item, so in this case Garage Shelves 1.)
  4. Enter Keywords for all contents in box #1, such as blankets, pink flower cushions, sheet set, shelf 1, 1st row. Going down the shelves, box #2, click Add Item, then add keywords for all contents in box #2, shelf 1, 2nd row. Continue for each box. If you’d also like to assign an item # to things not in a box or tub, you can do that. You can also type in the shelf location for a keyword, such what I did here: shelf 1, 1st row.
  5. Match Label Numbers and Item Names: Make sure the label number you affix to each box (or item not in a box) matches what you input for the Item Name/keywords in Paper Tiger.

Example:  Boxes of Seasonal Decorations

  1. If you want to keep all of your decorations together, you can name a Location in Paper Tiger ‘Decorations’ and say you have 5 boxes of seasonal decorations, so your Location capacity would be 5. In the description for the Location, you can input where you will store your boxes of decorations, such as ‘Decorations are stored in Basement on 2nd from top shelf of Shelf 1 of 2′, or if you have as many as 5 boxes, it might be ‘Decorations are stored in Basement on first 3 shelves from top of Shelf 1 of 2′.
  2. Print out labels from the database to be affixed to the 5 boxes.
  3. Enter Item Name for each theme of decorations that you have, i.e., Christmas or Thanksgiving or Spring. Click on Add Item, and when you add an item, Paper Tiger will assign a number to that box. In this example, box #1 item name might be ‘Spring’, box #2 item name might be ‘Thanksgiving’, box #3 item name might be ‘Christmas’, etc.
  4. Enter Keywords for each theme, such as in box #1, your Spring items might include a spring flag, bunnies, tablecloth and picnic items.
  5. Match Label Numbers and Item Names: Make sure the label number you affix to each box matches the decoration theme that you input for the Item Name/keywords in Paper Tiger.

Watch this webinar hosted by Meggin McIntosh that shows how she organizes her paper files and the boxes of training material in her storage facility with Paper Tiger: http://www.thepapertiger.com/blog/paper-tiger-webinar-hosted-meggin-mcintosh/

See other great ideas from our Not Just For Filing Paper webpage!

Using Paper Tiger filing system, you can have a place for everything, and searching and finding your stuff doesn’t have to be a worry!


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Get Organized with Paper Tiger

Get Organized with the SMART System

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!

Work SMART!

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.

  • Does this need action on my part?
  • Does this need to be given to someone else for action? Delegate! Send it on, with instructions if needed.
  • Do I really need it? Do I need to keep it for tax or legal reasons?
  • What will happen if I throw/give it away, but need it again later? What is the worst thing to happen if I don’t have it? If it’s a paper file, does it exist elsewhere?
  • Is it recent enough to be useful? Or if physical other than paper, have I used this in the last 6 months? If not, ask if there is a more convenient place for this item.
  • Do I love it? If you don’t love it, decide to give it away or toss it. If it is something that causes you emotional turmoil when asking these questions, is it something that you could take a picture of for the memory, and then let it go?

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!

Work the SMART system and get organized quickly!


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Are You Ready to Get Organized?

Need help getting organized?

This FREE webinar will help!

Register Now!

Click here to choose a webinar date.

Is this you?

  • Do you often wonder where the time went?
  • Does your to-do list keep getting longer, even though it feels like nothing is getting done?
  • Have you totally given up on keeping a to-do list?
  • Do you have trouble finding what you need?
  • Do you feel like you’ll NEVER catch up?

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:

  • Set your priorities and focus on what matters most (do this and you’ll be amazed at how fast you can start crossing things off your to-do list).
  • Remember important follow-up tasks BEFORE rather than AFTER… (wouldn’t that save tons of stress not to mention embarrassment?)
  • Efficiently handle mail, filing, returning phone calls and other repetitive tasks so you’ll have more time to do the things you LOVE to do.
  • Streamline information management and communications (no more time wasted on information that’s “interesting but not relevant” to what you need NOW).
  • Relax and enjoy a less cluttered environment.

Register now for a FREE monthly
90-minute webinar, taught since 2003.
(Kathy keeps teaching it because it is so popular!)

Buried in Paper:

Learn a simple five-step process to help you eliminate paper pile-up forever.

Click here to choose a webinar date.

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.”

www.OrgCoach.net


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Managing paper and getting organized in any office is an overwhelming task, because there is a seemingly ever-increasing mountain of paper files.

Whether you’re an individual, a small or large company, you must practice good time management and office organization techniques in order to control costs and provide excellent service. Experts agree that efficient staff productivity is a must, and Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management is a simple and effective tool that can help you in getting organized and save time. You get all the power of the computer WITHOUT the risks and time commitment of paper scanning.

What is lost information costing you?

How much does it cost you, not only monetarily, but in stress and lost time when you have to search for something you need, and it takes a while to find it or recreate it? Is your current filing system working for you? Are you able to retrieve what you need, when you need it?

Experts tell us that the average person wastes 150 hours per year just looking for things, and we’ve found some estimates even higher. You can calculate the cost of disorganization in your office at http://thepapertiger.com/roicalculator and you’ll see in a matter of seconds, that your return on investment using Paper Tiger will quickly allow you to get organized and be more productive. Imagine the satisfaction and reduced stress of being able to put your fingers on what you need, when you need it! And Paper Tiger is not just for filing paper … you can index into the software’s database any physical item that you can put a number onto.

Getting organized and more productive will give you more time to do the things you enjoy! An organized and productive system will help you manage your time more wisely.

How does Paper Tiger help you in getting organized?

Paper Tiger allows you to go ahead and set up hanging files with numbered tabs, so they are ready to drop your paper files into. Paper Tiger greatly simplifies filing by eliminating the problems found in traditional alphabetic methods and has made finding paper files in the office faster and much more reliable.

Stacks of paper files all over the office lead to frustration and inefficiency, which is costly in both time and money, so you must prioritize and decide on procedures to handle the paper that comes through your office. To create an even more efficient office, be sure to document your policy for paper handling and retention guidelines. This will ensure that everyone is organized in the same way and training on these procedures will be a cinch in the event of employee illness or staff turnover.

When going through mail and any other documents that cross your desk, decide what needs action, what should be filed, and what should be tossed. Today’s mail is tomorrow’s clutter. Stop making stacks; start making decisions!

-Decide what is junk, and toss or shred what should be tossed immediately.

-For items that need to be filed, the best practice would be to open your Paper Tiger database and type in Item Name and Keywords for each item as necessary, then immediately drop into the corresponding hanging folder. You don’t have to worry about remembering what name you filed it under later because you can input as many keywords as you like for any given file. If you already have a file indexed for a specific subject, just edit the Item in Paper Tiger to add any necessary keywords and add it to that existing hanging file folder.

Alternately, you could have a tray or folder on your desk where you can immediately place items to be filed. Then set aside 15 minutes to clear your desk at the end of each day, enter the necessary information regarding the ‘to be filed’ into your Paper Tiger database, and place the files into the corresponding hanging folder. (remember, the hanging folders are already set up, so you don’t have to worry about finding folders and making tabs)

-Prioritize action items. Decide if the action can be done immediately. If not, either delegate or check the deadline. Decide how long it will take you to complete the task, and go ahead and schedule the time on your calendar for the length of time needed to get the job done by the deadline. Input the Item Name and Keywords information regarding the action file into Paper Tiger, and select the Action date to start. Place the item in the corresponding Action Item hanging folder. This gives you a place to put all files relating to the same project without stacking up on your desk until you’re ready to work on it.

Do you have a records retention policy?

Paper Tiger is great for short-term action files, as well as long-term storage of files. Of course, purging of files should be a task that is done regularly according to your office retention guidelines and compliance with regulations to ensure your filing cabinets do not overflow with unnecessary or outdated files. If you don’t have a records retention policy, (how long certain types of files should be kept), now is a good time to make those decisions. You’ll not only save time by having to think about this every year, but you will set you and your staff up for better efficiency, as well as keeping your office space clutter-free and efficient.

When you’re ready to purge files to archives or to recycle/shred, simply conduct a Transfer of the file(s) in your Paper Tiger database, print a Transfer report if needed, and then remove the physical files from your filing cabinet or desk drawer. (If transferring to archives, don’t forget to set the action date in Paper Tiger when a file should be removed from archives to recycle/shred. That way, you’re sure to keep up with the life-cycle of your document management system, and you don’t keep files too long.) Then box the files you’ve removed, label the box with the corresponding item number in Paper Tiger’s database as well as the date the contents should be recycled/shredded, and send to the archive location. You’ll want to box files to be recycled/shredded at the same time in one or more boxes.

For example, you may have financial files and legal files that need to be kept for 7 years, but you need to clear last year’s files to make room for the current year in your immediate file area. For all files that need to be purged in 7 years, place them in the same box or multiple boxes if there are that many, and label the box Archive 1 (or whatever the archive item number is in Paper Tiger), then write “Purge and shred December 31, 2020″ on the box or label. Your archive boxes can be placed in order of archive item number so that you’ll know where they are and which boxes should be purged on what date. If you’ve set the action date in Paper Tiger when a file should be removed from archives to recycle/shred, when you open Paper Tiger, a reminder flag will let you know which files or boxes need action next.

Making decisions regarding how paper should flow through your office and the life-cycle of document management and retention will go a long way in your staff time management, increased productivity and organization. As mentioned previously, when you document your paper handling system and retention guidelines (the schedule in the life cycle of documents in your office), you will reduce cost and legal liabilities. Keeping unnecessary files will result in over-stuffed filing cabinets or storage space. In addition, different types of files need to be kept or destroyed based on legal reasons and time-lines, which could result in civil or criminal issues.

See our Blog Category for Records Retention: How long should you keep records? for articles written from different sources, including the IRS, to help you decide document/records retention schedule for your specific needs.

Following are 3 simple steps that will help you get organized, but remember, these steps do not have to be done in one day. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be more organized and productive.

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

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


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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.

Paper Tiger can help you keep your new year’s resolution to get organized in 2014!

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.


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Filing systems and document retention is a living, breathing, evolving science. Each year brings changes and new challenges in the needs for document filing and retention requirements and guidelines.

Governments, organizations and businesses struggle to keep up with the ever changing flow of paperwork. Paperless systems are implemented and on average fail, because systems are not followed by everyone. Some people just have to print! Fear of loss and over taxed workloads hinder progress as the paperless war wages with the influx of scanner systems. The looming questions of what to retain and for how long, continue to consume untold resources for both paper and digital files.

With the onset of electronic communication, even more retention guideline planning is becoming necessary. Everything must be backed up from fragile devices to even more fragile devices and possibly backed up to a cloud-based back up system. Record retention guidelines need to be determined for electronic or digital files, as well as paper files.

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

First you have to decide what paper files to keep and how long to keep them. Begin by determining the purpose for retaining each document type. From the IRS website: How Long to Keep Records. The IRS (or your specific country government tax related organization) has updated information regarding how to keep records and how long to keep them for tax purposes. You can use this information as a guideline when planning your policy for document retention and how long to keep records, however you should always consult your accountant before getting rid of any financial records and consult your attorney before getting rid of any legal records for advice on the length of time specific documents are legally required to retain.

After the legally required time has been determined to keep each type of document, guidelines need to be documented so that everyone can follow the policy that has been set. You won’t have to guess every year what can be tossed or what has to be kept. It is important that everyone strictly follow the company guidelines, which should be determined by the legal requirements as stated above, because it can be just as legally damaging if a document is kept past the required time period.

With a simplified filing system such as Paper Tiger in place, this becomes an easy task. Paper Tiger Filing System Software for Document Management can help you get your records in order and then be able to find them when you need them! You can use the Action Date function to remind you when you need to take action on records, including when you need to move them out of the current year’s hanging file folders to an archived location, and then when you can purge them out of your files altogether. You can also note in Paper Tiger’s database how long you need to keep each file even if it is indefinite. Paper Tiger also has a report entitled File Cleanout Report that is helpful when moving documents from file cabinets to an archived location. Decision should be made when files are archived as to if and when they should be destroyed. Archived boxes should be marked as to when they should be destroyed.

According to N&K, CPAs, “The answer varies depending on firm policies and the type of files. Generally, the files should be kept as long as they serve a useful purpose or until all legal and regulatory requirements are met. Businesses often base how long they keep files on the length of the statute of limitations for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and professional liability claims. The statutes, of course vary with each state.”

And here is another example of a record retention guide published by the Massachusetts Society of CPAs: http://www.cpa.net/resources/retengde.pdf

Even more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document_retention

Litigation

With lawsuits and public scrutiny becoming increasingly popular, the need to substantiate actions with physical proof has grown dramatically. Notes and emails, which were once discarded, are now needed to prove the validity of corporate and government decisions. Subordinates should consider retaining any correspondence from superiors that may point to the rationale behind their decisions.

Client Records

Many businesses base their customer retention on superior customer service. This includes maintaining easy access to copies of client records. Clients, just like the businesses that serve them, have the same problems as large corporations with document retention, and often find it simpler to request another copy of documentation from its source than to keep it on file, or to locate that file. Determining which documents are most often requested, as well as their age, will simplify the process of creating client record retention guidelines.

Financial Documentation

Financial documentation is retained for a multitude of reasons, taxes, efficiency, profitability, growth, tracking, accounting, etc., guidelines as to their storage location must be determined. Financial documentation must often be reassigned a new location with the passing of time. While this may seem futile, an indexing system such as Paper Tiger filing system software makes the process simple.

Accountability

Almost all documentation falls under the category of proving accountability. Once the purpose of accountability for each document has been determined, it will be easier to decide on its association and to create a retention guideline. The value of accountability proof of many documents is not worth their retention; however, they may have many other uses.

Once the retention purpose for each document type has been established, its retention life and location can be determined. While document retention and creation of guidelines may seem overwhelming and even futile, an innovative indexing system such as Paper Tiger, allows companies to maintain their hard copy files and achieve near paperless efficiency, while providing the ability to adapt with the ever-evolving science of document retention.

It isn’t necessary to discard old files to implement an updated filing system, however with the motivation to get organized after determining a document retention guideline specifically related to how you work, you might find yourself clearing some clutter from your file cabinets. By implementing the perfect indexing tool of Paper Tiger filing system software, a higher level of filing efficiency and document retention can be achieved, and you’ll also be able to find what you need, when you need it!


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This article from the blog of Denise Landers, founder and CEO of Key Organization Systems, Inc and a Paper Tiger Expert, offers helpful tips for prioritizing your ‘to-do’ list for improved time management and productivity. Proper planning and scheduling your time appropriately for the projects you have to do can mean all the difference toward accomplishing your goals. Denise also recommends Paper Tiger Filing System Software and Document Management for paper files in the office.
CEO of Key Organization Systems Inc.

Gambling on Having Enough Time?

Denise Landers

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.

Which of these scenarios best describe your time management:

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….

Tips to improve your time management:

  1. List all tasks, using one sheet of paper for each task.
  2. Decide which ones you can eliminate.
    • What are the consequences of doing this?
    • What are the consequences of not doing this?
    • Why do it now?
  3. Stack the remaining ones in order of priority.
  4. At the end of each day, select the tasks that you need to, or want to, do tomorrow.
  5. Put that stack in your desk drawer in a hanging file labeled “Today.”
  6. When you come into the office in the morning, take out the first item only.
  7. Focus on getting that one job done before moving on to the next.

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)


About Denise Landers

Key Organization Systems Inc.
Author of Destination Organization

productivity@keyorganization.com

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.

Meeting planners may obtain a OneSheet about KOS’s training and speaking services or view demo videos of training topics.


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Get organized now starting with just one challenge

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.

Organizing Challenge

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.

Using Paper Tiger as a Getting Things Done (GTD) Task List Manager

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.

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Tidy Tiger Solutions
Michelle Panzlaff

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
Email: info@tidytiger.biz


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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!

Read on as Sherry gives advice for busting clutter!

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
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www.SimplyProductive.com

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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).

Sherry’s Organizing Bootcamps will give you 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.

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