There are many great articles out there with tips on how to organize your office, but what about that stack of paper waiting to be filed? No one really likes having to deal with it, but below are a few tips for mastering the beast.

Sort the Stack – ask these questions:

  1. Who generated it? If the document came from someone else, toss it. It’s the originator’s responsibility to manage their files.2. Is it a lost page? If it’s a single page that is out of context, toss it. It’s of no use to you without background information.
  2. What version is it? Dispose of all draft versions. Keeping previous versions only serves to confuse people.
  3. Is it an unsigned contract? Signed contracts are the only versions that matter.

File the Keepers
Now that you’ve whittled the beast down to documents you want to keep, file them so that the information is readily accessible. Don’t file the same document in more than one location. Like draft copies, this serves to confuse and becomes a problem when one version is updated but not another. And this is the perfect time to scan and file your documents digitally so you can shred the originals – no more paper!

Avoiding this Task
In a perfect world, we would be able to focus on one thing at a time before moving on to something else but unfortunately, life isn’t like that. Put aside time in your day or your week to review documents that have not been filed. Do not wait a month – the stack can become too overwhelming and you’re back at square one. Better yet, keep a scanner at your desk or your assistant’s desk so that scanning and filing can be done right away.