Remember that document that you worked really hard on? The one that took you a good few hours to get formatted correctly, to proofread it and make sure it was ready to submit to your client? You remember it well don’t you? However, do you remember where you filed it?
Amongst a myriad of electronic files stored on your computer, that file is in there somewhere but you can’t for the life of you remember which folder or drive you saved it to! We’ve all been there…we’ve all been trying to find that particular file during a telephone conversation with a client, but no matter how many different folders you visit to locate it, it’s just not there!
It doesn’t look that professional does it?
If you are someone who struggles with file management, then this might just be the article for you. Don’t waste any more of your time, or that of anyone else’s by adopting a poor electronic filing system. It’s time to get organised and get efficient with your documentation.
So what can you do to improve your system?
• Use a hierarchical structure – By using this method you start with a limited number of folders. Within each of these folders you create more specific folders. So for example you may have a ‘Clients’ folder at top level then on the next level down create individual folders for each client. With the individual client folders you can then break things down further. Before you know it, you’re finding what you need in seconds.
• Give folders appropriate names – There’s no use in naming your electronic files in an abstract fashion. You want something that is easily recognisable. Don’t try and be clever, be efficient. This also means that if you are sharing your electronic filing system with someone you work with, they are able to easily identify what is contained within each folder.
• Keep your system consistent – Try to keep formatting the same from the outset. If you decide that you want to enter the date into the file name, maintain consistency with the format. For example do you want 10 May 2015, 10.05.2015 or even start with the year first 15.10.05. It sounds simple but one of the elements that is so often overlooked when creating an electronic filing system.
• Archive old or completed documents – Try to keep your ‘my documents’ folder current. These should be the files that you are working on at present. Anything that has been completed should be archived into the correct hierarchical folder.
• Make sure you backup – one of the most important factors of a successful filing system is to make sure that you keep your documents backed up and secure. Cloud storage is now one of the best ways to ensure that all your documents are safely stored in the event of a technical difficulty with your computer. Make backups regularly.
Efficient file management is a huge contributor to good time management and it’s important to establish as early as possible. The more documents you create, the harder it is to sort it out at a later date.
If you are struggling to organise your filing structure find out how Virtual Hand can help? We love nothing more than to lend a helping hand to make your life easier. All you need to do is comment below or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VirtualHand to get in touch.
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