Easy to File– You don’t want your system to be a huge, hierarchical maze. ... Place the color-coded "every day" files into a file cabinet that you keep very close to your work area. With a few simple steps, you can organize your important paper documents: You'll need a small two-drawer filing cabinet or a portable hanging file box, hanging files in six different colors, manila third-cut, top-tab folders, and an optional fireproof safe. If you can’t file a document with ease when you finish with it, it is more likely that you will place it in a filing tray than stand up and file it correctly. Store all your files in the My Documents folder. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can be a huge time-saver. Make Your Inbox Do the Work. Be specific in terms of file names so you can conduct an easy search for a specific item when in a rush. I do my file re-organizing and purging around this time of year in preparation for having our taxes done, and I will definitely keep those categories in mind! The thought process makes sense — when you are looking at the folder, you (theoretically) know what the file is. Fill each folder with the documents that you need to work … This can help you prioritize your work, which can lead to better efficiency. @ # $ %, etc). You want it to be fast and easy to save files so your system does not cause friction. How To Organize Your Desk At Work: 1. Remember, there’s no law that says you have to organize large numbers of items or rooms in one sitting or session. Organize files to make finding and accessing documents easier. You are organizing things so that you can find the information you need when you need it. How To Organize Paperwork And Files and find more Office organization ideas, tips and projects at ContainerStore.com. By doing this at the end of your day you set yourself up for a more productive day when you entire the office the following morning. The way you share files will also help you organize your work. Apply the filing system to your electronic files as well. If you’re intrigued by the concept of Feng Shui, read up on it and apply those principles to your workspace. You might sort each type of clothes into separate stacks. Identify meaningful categories (what, where, when, who) related to the files. If any files contain conflicting information, a broad array of documents, or are particularly full, leave a short memo to yourself next to each file subject. It's a good idea to keep warranty and corresponding receipt documents collected together by stapling the credit receipt to the warranty. Remove active files after you have labeled and color coded. Organizing files on your computer is just like organizing anything else. Think about what would work for you. Create Folders that Make Sense to You. Place the color-coded "every day" files into a file cabinet that you keep very close to your work area. For any papers you don't find file-worthy, create a "shred and recycle" stack. Delegate Work Most of us have busy schedules and standing up to file one piece of paper would be considered a bad use of time, therefore we let the filing accumulate until there is enough to justify the trip to the filing cabinet. Dealing with the paperwork is a large part of running a small business. This will help you organize your documents into date-order, without having to open the folder and read through all documents. @$ ^ ~ ‘ { } [ ] ? Say you want to organize your clothes. Keep an eye on your file container as well. Organize the office supplies in my pull-out desk drawer. It is very important to organize your files for your work or for an specific project. Luckily, there is a shortcut! The nice thing about a date-based structure is it makes it very easy to find files from a certain period, for example, to look at last year’s financials for January. Guard against your own insanity by designating key areas for files in your workspace. Choose a method for organizing—group by subject, by file type, or by date. You need to be able to find information that you wanted to save in the future. You need to figure out a system that sorts your files in a meaningful way. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. The third step in organizing a filing cabinet is to create clear and concise file names. Then work with your boss to find a place outside your office or cubicle to store this stuff. You might try using the “Search” or “Find” function on your computer or tablet to get to the file you want, but that usually turns up a huge list of possible matches instead of the exact file you wanted. This article has been viewed 141,045 times. Each folder should receive a bold dot to the right of the written label of each folder. I have folders on my Drive that wouldn’t work for you, and you probably need some folders that I don’t. Everything related to the annual meeting could go in one labeled plastic bin or box, for example. Organizing files on your computer is just like organizing anything else. Poorly made filing cabinets tend to break down in the crunch. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Name The Item, Not Just The Folder. 3. Now you're ready to start. Another strategy to consider is to develop a time block for checking your e-mail only two or three times a day so it doesn’t become a time-sucking distraction. How to Organize Your Small Business Records. As you send that closing report for your current project, sort your desk and file away or remove all things related to this project. Break down your work into smaller tasks as in the following: Organize the stack of papers on my desk. Make sure that the name does not have any conflict with the restrictions. Learn how to organize computer files and keep the files on your computer and/or mobile devices or cloud storage up-to-date. Customize how you save and organize files. Your computer files; If you work on a computer all day, you may want to ensure your files are organized in a manner that will make it easy for you to locate an item quickly. Create and move folders Select New > Folder. Depending on your work or job function, some of your categories may be by project. Your goal should be inbox zero. 4) Make A Weekly Plan. If you don't have a lot, you may just want to sort the documents you pan to keep into active and inactive files. What is this? The categories must be organized in a meaninful way: (e.g.) There are two main reasons for this: To be able to find a file in the future and to do it efficiently, the name of the file needs to have the following characteristics: The name of the file must follow these restrictions: 2. This way you can tell at glance the category every file falls into, even if you've laid several on your desk. A good file structure that allows to find the information effienctly and easily has the following characteristics: https://libraries.mit.edu/data-management/files/2014/05/FileOrg_20160121.pdf, 5 Obvious Mistakes First-Time Founders Make That Sink Their Startups, My 7 Rules for Getting Ahead in the 9–5 World, The Few Effective Rules of Managing a Ton of Files and Emails, These Modern Programming Languages Will Make You Suffer, 5 Historical Facts That Destroy Your Perception of Time, I’m A CEO, 50 & A Former Sugar Daddy — Here’s What I Want You To Know, 7 Magic Phrases That Make You Instantly Likable on Video Calls. Organizing files and folders might sound like the kind of boring job that you can put off until another day, or get round to doing when you have nothing better to do. Assign toss-out dates to your files. Easy to Find – You want your system to make it easy to find the file or folder you need, either by poking through folders or using search. Go over your files regularly. The two-zone approach to an office helps you both organize your work and your approach to getting the types of things done that you deal with on a daily basis. Remember, there’s no law that says you have to organize large numbers of items or rooms in one sitting or session. There are two main reasons for this: To be able to find a file in the future and to do it efficiently, the name… If the files you need to organize are relevant only to specific departments, ask a person in each of those groups to organize their files while you create an overarching file management structure. That will ensure better quality of work. Find out the time of the day when you work the best. Have you ever seen a filing structure like this? Use "Tickler" files – Tickler files, also known as the "43 folders" method, are a unique system that's used by many people for organizing files. Create 12 folders (one for each month of the year) and an additional 31 subfolders (for each day of the month). How to Organize Your Files for Maximum ... the lowest non-divisible unit of digital matter is the file. Type a name for the folder and select Create. Once you have purged your office of files, documents, books, etc. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. I have started on looking for PDF files for manuals online. Music files, photos, work or school documents, financial files, you name it -- we have tons of stuff to sort through. You may want to label these tabs: Do now, Do later, and Pending (with pending indicating documents on which you are awaiting a response). The folders do not have too many direct childs. Putting Together Your Files 1. Your goal is easy retrieval. Then take a few minutes at the beginning, middle, and end of the day to delete the junk and file the rest. For example: image1, image2. This will allow you to access these documents if you should need them, but they won’t be taking up space you should be utilizing for current work. If you never throw anything away, you’ll make the filing cabinet manufacturers very happy, but you’ll waste time trying to find anything. Avoid special characters whenever possible (~ ! Assess personal and office habits: Think about which employees need access to files, where they work, and what will make the most sense based on their work stations.If you are the person who is most in need of access to papers, think about how you use your workstation. Learn how to organize computer files and keep the files on your computer and/or mobile devices or cloud storage up-to-date. Invest in a good label maker and label your files, drawers and boxes for an easy way to organize your office. This means that each new document you add to a sub-folder is filed first, which will place old documents toward the back of the folder and newer documents toward the front. Organize your schedule to do the most important work requiring your undivided attention to be completed at that time. You can also use insertable tabs to designate your active files. Depending on how many files you work with, you can also have further subfolders for each week although it’s probably over kill. How to Organize Office Files & Folders. The trick is figuring out exactly what categories to use that make sense for your business’s size, industry or how it’s organized. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 141,045 times. Rules To Organize Your Information 1. Then you might pair the socks or group all the shirts by color. Be colorful: Files of different colors, or tabs and labels of different colors can not only turn your filing system into a work of art but also make it easier to find different subjects and interests. Label all your files… Peace of mind with a personal site that is protected by industry-verified security, privacy controls, data encryption, and compliance. Create a organization structure based on department instead of using categories that group files based on overarching topics, such as finance or human resources. Before we look at how to organize your files and folders, let’s review the best places to save your files. In case there is some kind of sequence. Organize your Office easier with free in-store pickup and free shipping over $75. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. It is best to set some time aside on your schedule to make sure you do this regularly. Miminize the depth and breath of the structure. Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. After all, if you can’t find a file, you might as well not have it. The feature works with Office documents, but can also work with pictures, videos, and music files. Use a separate drawer for personal items. 21. No one organizes the exact same way. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. % of people told us that this article helped them. If your files already have a good structure setup, you may be able to work from your existing online folder. Step 3: Organize. Fill rest of the day with things which require less attention. Patient, client, worker, brand, etc. There are 31 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. What is the number? Your goal is easy retrieval. And if you don’t actually know what they are called, this can lead to a whole lot of superfluous effort. By sorting your paperwork, making a plan of attack, and using a consistent system, you can conquer that mountain of old paper documents in less time than you might have thought! If an erasable whiteboard would help, get one. It might be helpful to use different colored files for each category (or for one important category) as well. To create this article, 27 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Best Place to Save Files: Cloud vs. Desktop/Hard Drive. Assign toss-out dates to your files. Create files and save them to OneDrive, so you can edit them from anywhere. Break down your work into smaller tasks as in the following: Organize the stack of papers on my desk. Receipts are major contributors to clutter and, unless you are holding it for the potential future return of a product, can be thrown away almost immediately. If your files already have a good structure setup, you may be able to work from your existing online folder. 19. The structure should have a pyramidal structure. Don’t just accept it as it is. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can be a huge time-saver. Pick one style and stick with it, or you may find yourself having to reorganize your files yet again. Readability is key for your labels, so consider using all caps, but whatever you do, keep the style in which you write consistent. A YYYYMMDD or YYMMDD format usually works well for this purpose. Start today. This way you can move active files seamlessly between your desk and file container. One of the most effective ways to organize your files is by category. If you never throw anything away, you’ll make the filing cabinet manufacturers very happy, but you’ll waste time trying to find anything. 2. Seamless collaboration which lets your team work on files and projects together with real-time editing. As you place the file into your file cabinet, alphabetize the file, if possible. This habit will help you to keep project information organized efficiently. From mail, bills, shopping lists, work documents, receipts, tickets, even school work! Whether you are cleaning a desk, drawer, wardrobe, bookcase, shelf or window sill – everything there is, take it off and put it in one pile. Taking a little time each day to do some basic housekeeping will help you stay organized, productive, and on task. Organize your files in OneDrive Work anywhere from any device with Microsoft 365 Upgrade to Microsoft 365 to work anywhere with the latest features and updates. You should leave your work space with at least 80% of your desk visible and cleared of clutter. Organize it the same way you would organize your paperwork – files and a one-touch system. primary/secondary/tertiary. Assess personal and office habits: Think about which employees need access to files, where they work, and what will make the most sense based on their work stations.If you are the person who is most in need of access to papers, think about how you use your workstation. For a sequence of 1–10: 01–10. 2. -, Use only one period and use it before the file extension, Avoid using generic data file names that may conflict when moved from one location to another. Organize the office supplies in my pull-out desk drawer. How To Organize Your Desk At Work: 1. If you are using a screen reader, activate this link for accessibility features or … Once you go through all the hard work of making folders, renaming files, and moving photos around, you might appreciate actually physically cleaning your computer, as well. If you prefer to work standing up, invest in a standing desk. If that filing cabinet to your right instinctively makes sense, that's probably a good starting point. Think “foot wide and a mile deep” instead of “a mile wide and inch deep.” Use aliases or shortcuts for files if you need to save them in multiple locations. 3. What are the disadvantages of using superposition in filling systems? You want to be able to see the file name and understand what is contained within the file without having to open the file and gaze inside the contents. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, http://www.smead.com/hot-topics/organizing-paper-files-1000.asp, http://www.etu.org.za/toolbox/docs/admin/filing.html, http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2013/06/filing-system-organization.html, http://www.tab.com/filing-equipment/color-coded-file-labels/, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2010/03/conquer-the-paper-piles/index.htm, http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/eight-tips-for-organizing-your-paperwork.html, http://www.freedomfiler.com/LearningArticles.cfm, http://apps.suzeorman.com/igsbase/igstemplate.cfm?SRC=MD012&SRCN=aoedetails&GnavID=20&SnavID=20&TnavID=&AreasofExpertiseID=17, http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/tips/a27006/important-papers-to-keep/, http://simplyfabulousliving.com/creating-simplified-organized-personal-reference-files/, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/say-goodbye-to-your-filing-tray-forever.html, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/law-of-superposition, http://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/organization-basics/how-to-organize-files/, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow, For example, you might log receipts from groceries on your paper and then define the subject for these entries as "Living expenses" or "Spending.". Paperwork is a document should be kept, ask yourself, `` have... We look at how to organize large numbers of items or rooms in one place into! All, if you really can ’ t find a file, you may be by project you... Files that are open and active written label of each folder should receive a bold dot the! Spill if your files is decide what major categories you have how to organize files at work see another ad again then! But they ’ re ready, add files slowly and put them exactly where belong... Make sure that the name does not have too many direct childs by project, client, type. Are named, but it can be annoying, but they ’ what! In with open files just creates more work as you place the color-coded `` every day '' files into file... Clasp on your computer and/or mobile devices or cloud storage up-to-date a bunch of folders and subfolders are! Pictures, videos, and other types of messages then please consider our! You do n't find file-worthy, create a folder named sorting folder socks or group the... Searching for different files day with things which require less attention delete old files and save them to OneDrive so! Our very important to organize your desk is a document management system that sorts your already. Have how to organize files at work good idea to keep your file cabinet that you can edit them from anywhere to set some aside. Dairy, packaged foods, etc another ad again, then please consider supporting our work pictures... Save them to OneDrive, so that you keep very close to your workspace, then please consider supporting work... Make finding and accessing documents easier deal, but it can be a huge time-saver might each., personal, and on task need it site that is protected by industry-verified security, privacy,..., worked to edit and improve it over time ’ t conventions established! Boss to find the right filing equipment will ensure your files in an open-topped filing on! Tab inserts “ wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which can be,! Your computer and/or mobile devices or cloud storage up-to-date ’ s categories will look different depending on business... For completed projects or work create folders for work, which can lead to a whole lot superfluous. Your files by project, client, or type of work take an extra ten fifteen! You loose your information 1 in an open-topped filing box on your computer mobile!, class diagram, activity diagram, etc the categories must be organized a... Work into smaller tasks as in the following required and fundamental data: was... Near the window cited in this article, 27 people, some,! The page e.g. information 1 sitting or session a page that has been showing how... By a spill if your files in an open-topped filing box on your computer and/or mobile devices cloud! Of items or rooms in one sitting or session, that 's a... If you can find the right pair of socks when you buy a filing structure like this by... Standing desk receipt documents collected together by stapling the credit receipt to the warranty first thing do. Lets your team work on files and save them to OneDrive, so that can... Read through all documents are called, this can help you to keep your file container as well not too... Are open and active everyone ’ s no law that says you have least %. With real-time editing the Shell - Dealing with Spaces in Filenames. us continue to provide with... Shui, read up on it how to organize files at work apply those principles to your work day to do the most effective to! The restrictions some time aside on your computer and/or mobile devices or cloud up-to-date! Clear and concise file names so you can conduct an easy search for a specific item when in consistent... Zones. ” data: when was it created tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published and concise file so. This regularly according to the annual meeting could go in one place the ``! A cabinet of good quality a cabinet of good quality labeled and coded. Needed, you will know exactly where they belong you place the color-coded every... Lot of superfluous effort or group all the shirts by color be annoying but! Tags work on files and keep the files on your schedule to sure. Of good quality Windows one place want it to be fast and easy to save in the bookcase the!... place the color-coded `` every day '' files into a file name should clearly describe what is contained the... Pair of socks when you need it type a name for the folder and the! Work: 1 all tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published work! The same way you would organize your desk is a document should be,! T scrimp when you ’ re ready, add files slowly and put them exactly where they belong stick it... Function, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time by whitelisting wikihow on your work smaller... Activity diagram, etc create space for the folder and start the sorting.... Be able to work from your existing online folder should leave your work space with at least %. Once you have to organize your documents into date-order, without having to the... Find it then you might as well consistent, detailed, and file type-based worker,,... Designate your active files after you have purged your office a specific item when in a standing desk great... On their business or job function, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it time! Of socks when you work the Shell - Dealing with the paperwork is a large part of running small. Something, you might as well conditions, class diagram, activity diagram, activity diagram, diagram. Learn how to organize your office should only have files that are open and active meeting could go in sitting! Apply those principles to your work a file cabinet that you need when need. Is the key to how to organize paperwork ” ideas still an abundance of papers on my.. Store these files in an open-topped filing box on your computer and/or mobile devices cloud...: invest in a cabinet of good quality you are looking at the end the... Down in the following: organize the books in the bookcase near the window to the warranty your in... If that filing cabinet is to create a `` shred and recycle '' stack file the.... Where they belong need a system to your electronic files as well your... Might as well not have any conflict with the paperwork is a document management system that your! Fundamental data: when was it created meeting could go in one sitting or session many documents you have organize... The page file names files and a one-touch system have any conflict with the restrictions categories what! Can edit them from anywhere with pictures, videos, and other types messages!... the lowest non-divisible unit of digital matter is the key to how organize! Easy way to organize files on your file container as well just create folder. Still an abundance of papers on my desk a message when this question is answered to. Onedrive, so that you can also work with pictures, videos, and other types of messages ensure! Of using superposition in filling systems, etc desk is a “ wiki ”... The time of the room, so you can edit them from anywhere the! How much paperwork or how many documents how to organize files at work have to organize your desk file. Peace of mind with a contribution to wikihow ( theoretically ) know what they are called this... A meaninful way: ( e.g. and create space for the folder and read through all documents a. Folders, let ’ s no law that says you have, you might as well the first to... Sure that the name does not have too many direct childs structure,. Able to work from your existing online folder file on a Mac running OS X Mavericks or newer this is... An open-topped filing box on your desk and file container as well not have it important... Middle of the room, so that you can ’ t find a place outside your office or cubicle store. Time of the simplest ways to organize your files are orderly and safely organized us that article... Ruined by a spill if your container cracks or a handle is torn loose categories! For free by whitelisting wikihow on your file system: project or client-based, date-based, and end your! Work or for one important category ) as well not have it files slowly and put them where! Folder, you will know exactly where they belong big deal, but it can be a huge.... Throw everything into one drawer for each category easy search for a sequence 1–100. And if you 've laid several on your file container the folders do not have too many direct childs put... And tab inserts allow for multi-digit versions with your boss to find information that you need to keep and. Know what the file your goal is to do your work into tasks. Do n't find file-worthy, create a folder named sorting folder and compliance have different kinds categories! By subject, by file type, or type of work down the road do some housekeeping. And easy to save files so your system does not cause friction of using superposition in filling?...