Do you know your way around your filing system with your eyes closed? Can you retrieve that urgent file within a matter of seconds or does it take you ten minutes to locate?

Now that paper filing is ‘old hat’ and technology has taken the front seat with our file management, are we as organised as we think we are? Is there such a thing as being too organised and creating file paths that are just far too complicated and waste precious minutes when you need to find that file? What happens if someone else needs to find a document on your behalf? Is your filing system intuitive enough for them to be able to retrieve it without stress and confusion?

Efficient filing saves time. After all, in business time is crucial in displaying professionalism and customer/client satisfaction.

We’d like to share our tips on creating an electronic filing system to save you time, stress and embarrassment when someone is standing over your shoulder or on the other end of the phone. Eliminate the pressure, look professional and have a great file structure to please everyone.

1) A great place to start is to implement a hierarchical structure filing system:-

Start with your top file as the

• PROJECT

Within the Project file create topic files, for example:-

• REPORTS
• COMMUNICATIONS
• INVOICES
• EXPENSES

Within the topic files create function files, for example:-

• REPORTS

– JANUARY 2015
– FEBRUARY 2015
– MARCH 2015
– ETC

• COMMUNICATIONS

– MANAGER
– TEAM
– CLIENT
– ETC

• INVOICES

– JANUARY 2015
– FEBRUARY 2015
– MARCH 2015
– ETC

• EXPENSES

– JANUARY 2015
– FEBRUARY 2015
– MARCH 2015
– ETC

Within the function files create activity files, for example:-

• INVOICES

– JANUARY 2015

o Payment received
o Payment outstanding

– FEBRUARY 2015

o Payment received
o Payment outstanding

– MARCH 2015

o Payment received
o Payment outstanding

– ETC

Above is just an example of a basic hierarchical structure. Depending on the nature of your project, you may require additional or fewer subfolders. Remember, don’t make it too complicated! The idea is to be able to retrieve information with ease. You may instead, wish to title your main folder by client instead of project.

2) Know your file pathways and share with others. If you are out of the office and someone needs to locate information, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a filing system that only one person understands. Ensure that you have an electronic filing system manual or instructions to hand, located in a communal but secure place at your office.

3) Always back up your filing system. It goes without saying that at some point in time there may be that occasion that your system will need to be retrieved. Keep it up to date and utilise the wonder of The Cloud. This also enables you to obtain access to your files, from any location and not just from the office, securely and safely.

4) Don’t mix up the old with the new. If you’ve created a new version of a document ensure it is labelled correctly and the old version is archived.

5) Unnecessary files cause confusion. If a document doesn’t require saving to the system then don’t. Likewise with out of date files, ensure you archive regularly.

Managing your files effectively will indeed prove to be time saving. If your current filing system is taking up too many minutes of your day when they could be applied to other income generating tasks, then it’s time to review your practice.

If all of this is just too daunting, then help is at hand. Virtual Hand can help you to implement a time saving file management system and assist you eliminating the frustrations of document location.

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Busy business owners and successful trainers all struggle from time to time to get everything done in the working day. That’s why we put together our list of favourite tips, tricks, and real life examples that you can use to start doing more with the time you have. Download your free copy here

Learn how you can work with Virtual Hand; how your business can grow and how you can communicate better with your audience.

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