Is your current filing system working for you? Can you find what you need in ten seconds or less? What about your tax-related documents? How big is that pile of paperwork waiting to be filed?
Now that I have been in business a few years, I have finally developed an efficient filing system for [ real neat ]. (Bet you never thought that a professional organizer could ever be disorganized.) No doubt, you already know just how tough it can be to determine what your needs are when you start a completely new venture. In fact, my piles of paperwork grew without abandon on my kitchen countertop after I gave birth to Amanda in 2004! It seemed that, all of a sudden, what had worked for me in the past simply did not work anymore. Has that ever happened to you?
Well, February is known as Archive Your Files month, so this newsletter is jam-packed with information to help you deal with your information! Yes, it is now time to "bite the bullet" and work on Taming the Paper Tiger™ to curb one of life's biggest stressors.
P.S. Looking for more personalized advice? Need an extra set of hands to get the job done? I can help! Contact me today to schedule your free consultation.
files & taxes
Have you ever noticed how much anxiety is created by lost paperwork? Have you ever thought about how much time and money you are wasting because of it?
According to The Wall Street Journal, the average U.S. executive wastes six weeks per year searching for missing information in messy desks and files. That translates into one hour per day. In fact, according to a recent Esselte study, for an employee whose annual salary is $60,000, that time lost costs the company a staggering $6,290 each year.
And, what if you're a stay-at-home mom or a retired veteran? When you lose a piece of paper, it's not like you're losing any money, right? Wrong!
Have you forgotten about those late fees and bank charges that you incurred when you missed paying the water bill on time last month? Or, what about the overdraft on your checking account... your husband lost the receipt for his most recent unplanned trip to the grocery store and neglected to inform you.
If you're anything like the average American and regularly carry a balance on your credit card (especially as you struggle to stay afloat in the current economic conditions), just think of all the interest charges that you're racking up!
And, what about all the time that you're wasting? The US News and World Report has found that the average American spends one year of his or her life looking for lost or misplaced items at home or in the office. Can you imagine? I'm betting that you'd prefer to spend your time on bigger and better things...
Lost paperwork equals lost time, lost money, and lost sanity. Not good.
Perhaps you'll find some of the following tips and checklists useful:
- For quick reference, use a highlighter to draw attention to due dates, names, topics, or deadlines.
- Store your personal and business paperwork in separate filing cabinets (or different drawers, at least).
- Use color to distinguish between different kinds of files. Assign a separate color to each file type or category.
- Capture all tax-related documents in a single file or drawer as you receive them and record on Tax Stuff Checklist.
- List items as you donate them to charities on the Itemized Donations Form that you keep in your "Tax Info" file.
- Record where your vital documents are stored on the Legal Document Safe Keeping form. Give a copy to a trusted family member or friend.
- If your business designs and uses several forms and documents in-house, copy or print each one on a different color of paper to make future sorting efforts quick and painless.
- Create an "Information Central" area near the door you use most often that includes your family calendar, outgoing paperwork, and separate inboxes for each person.
- Open your mail over the garbage can. Toss all envelopes and junk mail immediately. Sort and add the remaining items to your action files.
- Keep your unread magazines and current catalogs in a pretty basket near your favorite reading chair. Follow the "one in, one out" rule.
- Schedule regular weekly or bi-weekly "desk time" during which you pay bills, file paperwork, and complete other administrative tasks.
- Collect all stray post-it notes and messages in a single notebook. Use staples, tape, or vinyl baseball or business card organizers.
- For business purposes, store sales and purchase receipts organized by type, year, then month in files, envelopes, or boxes.
- Select a filing (or piling) system that suits your personal habits, work requirements, and design preferences.
- Store extra filing supplies inside or near your filing cabinet so you can easily create new files as needed.
In January, a total of 12 new organizing tips & ideas were added to my blog. Some of the most popular blog entries were...
Get Organized Month Celebration !!
Free Printables : Goals for the New Year
The Great Organizing Giveaway !!
Quick Tip : Keep Reading Material Handy
Receive instant updates when new entries are added; subscribe using your favorite news reader : http://www.realneat.com/realorganized/feed/.
power over paper
The mountain of paperwork that is growing on your countertop or desk represents a loss of freedom, a loss of control, and a nagging feeling in your gut that something important isn’t getting done. Isn't it time to do something about it? I'd love to drop by your home or office to help you regain power over paper for good...
In one single hour, you'll learn how to:
Set up and maintain your daily-use action files.
Use the FAT™ system to process incoming paperwork.
Store your vital documents, reference materials, and file archives.
Added bonus materials include:
Time-Saving Tax Organization Tips
Tips on How Long to Retain Household Information
Favorite Tips for Managing Paper Chaos at Home
Favorite Tips for Organizing Your Desk
The File - Act - Toss System
Get your own customized filing solution for ONLY $75. Book Now !!
please help me !!
I need your help... What would you like to see featured on RealNeat.com in March? What is your toughest organizing dilemma? What are some of your all-time favorite organizing tips? "Whatcha doin'?" ;)
I want to hear from you... seriously... I could really use some fresh perspectives... "Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"
Send me an e-mail with your thoughts, and if I feature your idea, dilemma, or tip on my blog, you could win some real neat organizing goodies!