Happy New Year! At Synced Spaces, we LOVE January because it’s the perfect time to get organized for the year ahead.
One area where you can do a quick clean up now, and save yourself a lot of time later, is your file cabinet—whether you store your files digitally on your computer or in drawers in the office (or a combination of both). After all, tax season is right around the corner!
Going through files may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but here are a few quick and easy ways to get organized:
1. Make sure everything is still in working order. If you use a digital file system, take a few minutes to go through and make sure everything is still operating as it should (passwords up to date, files organized to meet your needs, Apps synced across devices, etc.). If you use a paper system, can you still read the labels on your folders? Are the files ripped? Do a little clean-up with some fresh office supplies.
2. Do a survey of your folder contents. When we’re in a hurry, documents can get dropped into the wrong folders. Scan each one and make sure the labels still match the contents. This is also a good time to purge, and on that note...
3. Make sure you only keep what you need. Sometimes we keep certain things when we’re in the moment and on the go. This is a perfect time to assess if you really need to keep an item after the new year—Is there a still a need for a reminder or record of an event? Do you have duplicates? Can you scan and save anything electronically instead of hard copy?
4. Ask yourself WHY? If you’re keeping something for one bit of information, condense into other tracking options. For example, if you’re keeping a flyer to remind yourself about an event, put it in your calendar instead.
5. Plan ahead. Are there any files you need to add? Do you have any new projects coming up that you need a file system for? Having a filing system in place before the event/person arrives makes things much easier in the long run.
6. Don’t over complicate it. Create your file system in the way you think about finding things. You don’t need a label for every single piece of paper. Make categories and subcategories that make sense to you.