Businesses are organizing at a more effective rate than ever before. Much of this increased consistency and quality in filing is due to the fact that papers can be converted and saved into digital forms, but filing processes for physical paper are also improving. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing paper in a neat and streamlined way to ensure the organization stays consistent and up to date.
Gather Up the Paper
The first step to organizing your paper is gathering it together to be sorted and stored. The key here is very simple – don’t procrastinate! It’s tempting to sit on your hands and let your paper gather into more unmanageable stacks, but don’t fall into this trap. The best time to do something about your clutter is today, right now. Gather together every piece of paper in your office and pile it neatly into a stack. You should look all over for what you’re organizing, too. Don’t just gather paper from your desk, look all around your office.
Sort and Categorize
The next key is to avoid the temptation of reading over every single piece of paper you’ve collected. Instead, start the sorting process by identifying which papers are associated with a department or another component of the business. For example, you can organize the papers by departments, such as HR, sales, and development, or you can choose a different categorization method. However, you want to organize your papers, a method should be chosen, and you should read briefly over each one to get a sense of which category it belongs to. Giving a detailed read over each paper will only make the task more tedious and cost you time and energy.
Trash the Unnecessary Documents
Once you’ve organized your large pile into several smaller piles, you can comb through the small piles and ensure everything there is important and shouldn’t be trashed. Sorting through “necessary” vs. “unnecessary” will be made much easier now that you have separate piles. Obviously, throw out everything which is outdated or doesn’t sufficiently serve its purpose anymore, like old pieces of insurance or outdated developmental or sales strategies. It’s up to you to decide what’s old and what should still be kept, and you should be careful not to throw out anything of value.
Here’s where things get fun and easy. You’ve got individual stacks that are already categorized and the waste has been identified and made into a different, separate pile. If you already have a filing system set up, simply file your documents away using the system you know and like. If you don’t have one set up, you can create one easily with shelves you already have or you can buy new filing cabinets from an office store such as Office Depot. There are additional considerations you can make as well, like giving similar documents and files a color-coding system, labeling everything for clarity, and putting everything in one or two cabinets, and keeping them together, so everything is in the same place at once.
Shred Anything Unwanted
Your needed documents are now filed away and organized. You’re just about finished, but there’s still one more step you should take. You should shred any files you don’t need, in order to protect your data and ensure no one else looks over your documents. There are a variety of shredders you can use for the job if you don’t already have one. They’re affordable and get the job done in a streamlined and efficient way and can be bought at an office store. Make sure that all sensitive and proprietary information is removed from your documents when you shred them.
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