The Dreaded Paper Filing System

http://fertilitylaw.ca/pma/index.php I recommend revamping your paper filing system, when you have time. Although this is not a high priority activity, revamping your file systems will help you save time in the long run.   Here are a few reasons why you may have been avoiding this:

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  •  The drawer is jam packed with paper files and there’s no room.
  • Once filed, you are not sure you can find it again.
  • You don’t know what to name the file.
  • The file cabinet itself is ancient and the drawers do not operate properly.

enter site The first two bulleted points above are usually due to not purging your information on a regular basis. At least once a year or every six months, it is a good idea to go through your file drawers and eliminate those paper files that you have not used in the past 12 months. The exception to this would be any files that contain tax or legal information. There are rules for how long to retain that documentation. Ask your CPA or go to www.irs.gov for suggested guidelines. Once you get in the habit and purge on a regular basis, the time it takes to get through your files will shortened considerably.

While some files may need to be kept, some of the information it holds can be purged or updated. For example, you do not need to keep all the prospectuses for your investment portfolio, or at work, there may be updated forms that replace some that you have in your file drawers.

As we add files to our file cabinet we oftentimes complicate the system by micromanaging the data. Think in terms of broad categories. In other words, keep it simple. The fewer the categories, the more success you will have in retrieving your information. When making the decision where to file papers, put like with like. Each piece of paper does not need its own file.

Lastly, if you file cabinet does not function properly then you are less likely to use it. If your file drawers stick or do not close well, consider purchasing a new file cabinet. Your time is certainly worth more than the cost of aggravation over some square box that holds your papers! Use hanging file folders whenever possible. They are a big help in moving files forward and backward to access the information therein. They also are a replacement, not in addition to, manila files.

It may be the case that you shouldn’t use files at all.  You have them but never file things in them.  There is more than one way to manage the paper information you wish to keep.  Here’s an article with more about the variety of ways to file.

5 Comments

    • I personally prefer the lateral file cabinets. However, depending on a person’s situation it may not be the best solution.

  1. Just browsing and found your site – thanks for sharing.

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