When I started The Super Organizer five years ago, I didn’t anticipate the sheer amount of paperwork that would result! If your day is like mine, by 8 a.m. I’ve already been faced with 600 emails and a few issues that weren’t on my original plan for the day. The crazy pace of daily business tends to create a temptation to just complete each task as quickly as possible at the expense of order and process–a situation with the potential for escalating problems in the future. Or to not handle everything right then and begin the “I’ll get to it later” habit. There have been many times I’ve had the frustration of spending a full day trying to locate a single document .Most of us know how important organization is, but I hope this inspires those who need to get organized. And its start with our filing systems!!
The first step is to block out some time with yourself to get organized. You can even make an appointment with yourself. Put an alarm on your phone. Do whatever works to help you do that! I take a deep breath, get my coffee, and have a seat and first write out the things I want to do first thing. Sometimes its specific (call EDD, Pay for Phone bill, check emails) , other times it’s a series of single words (email, taxes, calls, lunch). For a lot of folks, record-keeping is electronic, and a disorganized computer filing system and desktop can be scary and challenging. If you can, take that appointment with yourself and create a file structure on your computer or network that works for you. Every business is different, so your filing system will be different, too. You want to keep it as simple as possible. Create folders for each thing you can think of and name the folders clearly and easily. Make should YOU will know what each folder means and what to put in them. And make sure that the categories are precise and not open to interpretation. You don’t want to be confused as to where to put a document or where to look for a document. Simple and clear and easy!
Some people have hard files. If you don’t have file cabinets, get some. I recommend cabinets that have at least one more drawer than you think you need for each category. At a minimum, there should be a cabinet for your vendors; one for your customers; one for your financial documents, taxes and agreements; and one for your marketing activities. Again keep it clear and easy. Keep separate filing space for your personal life. I had to learn the hard way to separate my personal and professional papers. Especially when it came to my bank accounts! I have separate accounts so I had to file them in separate places and not intermix the two.
In the end, all that matters is that your filing system provides a place for everything and that you can locate important documents when you need them. The one universal element to organization is the need to maintain it on an ongoing basis. It’s something that should be maintained each day. If a new category comes up, create a new file or file drawer for it immediately. If you can’t do each day, then get a post-it and write what needs to be done and have a designated place to put the document (s) neatly in a pile till you can get to it. If it is electronic, have a folder specifically set for those documents. BUT in both cases, schedule a time or day you can get to it and get those things into their proper places. The sooner the better!! Businesses can fall apart due to misplaced documents or unseen/unanswered emails, organization is the key!