Let's face it, most people hate filing. It's boring.
But more than that, one of the common getting stuck points is those documents that don't really fit into any category that you have set up. Sometimes this results in piles of miscellaneous papers or you just put off the filing all together.. And the piles grow.
So how can we avoid this and make filing easier?
My biggest tip is to start your categories broad and create sub categories only when you need to. For example in a personal filing system you might start with these categories:
- Home - for anything related to the running of your home, electricity bills, internet, landlord inspections etc
- Car - for your rego, insurance, service receipts etc
- Medical - for anything health related
- Work - for pay slips, super info, resume/CV etc
- Bank - for anything financial
As these files grow, and by this I mean you have too many documents for one file, you can create sub categories or more specialised files. Maybe you buy a house and need more categories than just home (purchase papers, bills, maintenance etc), or if you have kids, you might need separate medical files for each family member.
If you are working with an existing filing system and you have a document that doesn't fit anywhere, ask these questions
- Do I really need to keep this?
- Is there a similar document filed under a very narrow category that I can broaden to fit this?
- Do I need to create a new category?
What else normally stops us from changing or adding categories?
Thinking the system needs to be perfect, or look perfect.
Do you know ANYONE in real life who has a filing cabinet that looks like this? While it would be really nice to have a system that looked beautiful, who actually has time to set this up? And when you need to add or change categories, how much extra work is that going to be to keep it perfect. The important thing is that you can find what you need quickly right?
Not having the tools handy to make changes.
eep your spare tabs and labels in the front (or back) of your system along with spare folders. If you like to use a label maker, make sure it's always handy and stocked with label tape and batteries. Printed labels are awesome and clear, but handwritten is fine as well, just write clearly and keep your naming simple.