Organize Your Files

April is Records Information Management Month.  Sound too complicated for you? Do you feel that stress build up as you read that as you think about the piles on your desk or in your computer?  How about we start with something a little simpler, Organize Your Files Week?  Let’s start there then.  The third week of April every year is National Organize Your Files Week.

Today I’m going to help you work through some of that paperwork overwhelm.

1-We’re almost at tax day, April 15th in the USA.  Immediately after you file your taxes, put ALL papers/documents in more permanent storage and away from your immediate reach.  You won’t need last year’s papers unless an issue comes up, so you should put them away to make room for new documents.

2-Set up new documents and folders for 2011 if you haven’t already.  It’s a lot easier to do this on computers, but you should already be well into your paper management for 2011 as well.  Create a new financial template or folder for this year’s numbers on the computer, and set up your folders in your filing cabinet or box so they’re ready to receive all the papers you get this year.  You can also clean out your email of things you don’t need anymore.

3-Don’t know what to keep or get rid of?  Try asking yourself “Could I replace it again if I needed it in the future?”  If it’s something you know you’ll be able to get your hands on again, you can get rid of it.

The best way, the only way, to successfully participate in organizing your files is to have some place to put your files!  Have a small storage system for frequently needed papers and documents, and a banker’s box, USB drive or another location to keep all old records that you want to keep longer that isn’t in your way and keeps them safe.

If you get overwhelmed by all your papers or computer files, hire an organizer.  Don’t let your frustration be your excuse for having a mountain of papers or unfindable files.

What will you start with today?  The papers, your computer or making that call for help?  Share your answer below.

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