1. Use File Names that incorporate your first thought about a subject (you might use “Autos”; I think and use “Cars” in my filing system).
2. Keep a separate listing of all the information you carry in your wallet. Be sure to include the contact notification numbers.
3. Group like items together. Financial with financial, clients with clients, etc. Use general categories under which you have subfiles.
4. Make an index of your filing system!
5. Keep an envelope in your car, and another in your briefcase or purse, for those receipts you acquire on the road.
6. Organize the files on your computer. Don’t be afraid to create and use new “folders”. It’s much easier to find a specific file if it’s in a category folder.
7. Use alphabetical order wherever possible. It’s easy to remember and easy to explain to somebody else if you want to delegate your filing chores.
8. Be sure to have a list of where your important documents are located. No one likes to think of a disaster, but a master list is key should something happen to you — or just to jog your memory if you ever need to find something years later! Consider keeping a copy of this master list in a safe place offsite as well.
9. Have all files that you use regularly within arms reach of where you do your work.
10. Make a decision about how long to keep your periodicals and stick to it! Usually outdated periodicals (more than 6 months or a year old) are not very useful. Especially if you are pressed for space, consider getting rid of these old magazines (recycle them or donate them to a library). If you really needed something from an earlier magazine, you could go to a local library or check on-line.
11. Designate a specific spot for certain types of mail, such as bills to pay, so you know exactly where you should put this mail when you receive it.
12. Create one piece of paper with all the Travel Phone Numbers (airlines, hotels, car rental agencies) that you use, together with your Frequent “User” Number for each to make your travel reservations easier! Make sure that file is accessible on your smart phone (if you have one).
13. Create a File for 2021 Memorabilia — so you have a place to store all those movie stubs and other treasures that can otherwise junk up your desk. Prior year’s Memorabilia folders can be reviewed at the end of the year for any not-so-memorable items which should be discarded. Then store the old memorabilia file in your yearly archive box.
14. Be Sure to Have Recent Back-Ups of all your Important Computer Files–You never know when your computer might crash. A set of back-ups should also be maintained off-site. Also consider an online backup service.
15. Use some downtime to review your reference files. Are you really using this material? Can you retrieve what you want efficiently? Is your index up to date?
16. For your health insurance paper overload, make 3 folders:
“Medical Claims To Send”; “Claims Pending” and “Completed Claims for 2021”. This method simplifies status checks for a complicated, paper intensive area for many people. If you have a Medical Savings Account or Flexible Spending Plan program, be sure to add a folder “Medical Expenses to Send to FSA” or “Medical Expenses to use for HSA distributions”
17. To help control incoming junk mail (especially credit card applications), call the “Preapproved Credit Card Opt Out Line” for Experian, Equifax and TransUnion at 1-888-567-8688. You can request to be omitted from these lists for two years or permanently.
19. Realize that organization is a process and not an end in itself. The goal of good organization is efficiency. The test of an effective organizational system is whether you can, and do, use it easily to file and find what you have.