Small business, big business, or even in your home, you’ll always have files to keep. In fact, one of the most common struggles in any business or household is the overwhelming quantity of paper or documents they have to tackle. If you aren’t smart with file management, physically, your space will look cluttered. And, your computer system, too, can become overwhelmed with digital files.
Whether your files are physical or electronic, it’s very important to have a functional, effective and efficient file management system. When it meets those standards, you’re sure to have one that’ll go a long way in ensuring your files are safe. They can easily be found whenever you need to retrieve them, and they won’t get tampered upon.
With that said, here’s an insightful guide on how to create and implement a file management system that works:
Have Backup Files
Backing up files is another very important facet of file management. It’s not just enough to save all your files in one location. Technology has its limitations. And if your hard drive crashes, then you’d certainly wish you have had a back-up.
Be proactive with your approach so you’re a couple of steps ahead with file management. For your digital files, if you’re saving it on a drive, then you may want to have the backup on the cloud through a secure file transfer software. If you have physical files, it’s a good idea to keep a digital backup of those documents.
Declutter Before Organizing
Before you start organizing your files, take the time to go through each first. This may seem time-consuming and counterintuitive, but it’s the best way to start. By decluttering and reducing your files, you won’t have to organize and keep so many.
For instance, perhaps you’re keeping files from five years ago that are no longer relevant. These are taking up physical space in your office and even digital storage space, for electronic files.
Along this line, a good tip to follow is to practice a regular schedule of decluttering your files. In this way, it won’t have to reach to the point where it’s too much of a heavy work to have to reduce again. Take the time to go through your files at least once a year. By doing so, you can shred or dispose the files from the past year which you’re sure to be of no use anymore.
Choose One Central Location
If you’re organizing physical documents, have one central location in your home or office for those files. For digital documents, keep one storage drive or cloud address as well. When you do have to look for files, you know where to start looking for them, as they’re all in one place.
Plus, putting your documents in one central location also makes for ease of management. It’s easier to create a file system and sub-filing methods, for instance, when you don’t have to jump from one location to another.
Collect All Loose Papers
As you begin to organize, you may also want to start collecting all loose papers you may have. Go through each cabinet and drawer in your office or home. This is still a part of decluttering. When you go through all your loose papers, you may end up finding important documents, which you previously may not have stored or filed.
Sorting through all loose papers is also necessary when you’re trying to come up with a digital filing system, as you automate. Typically, this will entail scanning the physical papers, so you can start saving it on a drive, cloud or software. Going through this step will ensure every single document is accounted for, as you make that transition.
Create A Filing System That Works For You
Every person or workplace will have their own preference as to the filing system that works for them, and even the sub files. Some like to sort by date, and then alphabetically, or the reverse. Others may also want to start by type or kind, and then sub-file accordingly as well.
There’s no universal approach to this. Use the system which you know you’re most comfortable using and maintaining. In that way, your file management system continues to work well for you and your workplace needs.
If you now feel overwhelmed by the number of files you have at home and in your business, the tips above can give you clear-cut solutions. Keeping your files well organized isn’t just about having order and systems. It also ensures better productivity and efficiency both at home and in your workplace.
The more files you have, the higher the need to keep these in order. By doing so, you won’t run the risk of losing files, particularly those you deem are very important. Take these tips one at a time, and then you’ll start to enjoy a better and more workable file management system.
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