Have you ever spent valuable time searching through files trying to find the one document that you need? The key to improving productivity and organizing paperwork in your office is to create file naming conventions that work specifically for your needs. A file naming convention is the system you use for naming your files in a way that describes both what they contain and how they relate to your other files. Here are some tips from your NYC Professional Office Organizer to create file naming conventions.
Divide your files into categories. Divide your files into three main categories: Action (for current projects, calls, to read, etc.), Reference (vendor quotes, business resources, etc.), and Archive (for files you don’t use often but need to keep). You don’t need to keep all of these in the most accessible filing cabinets in your office. The archive files can be moved to a separate location like a storage closet, the action files should be kept in a desk drawer(s) and the reference files not too far from the desk.
Start with a broad topic. When labeling your file folders, try not to be too specific. Use broad headings such as “Project XYZ”, “Expense Reports” or “Ad Campaigns.” Think about what is the most important parameter that will allow you to quickly and easily understand what is in each file and use that as your topic.
Create subfolders as needed. Within your broad topics, this is where you can create folders that are more specific. You can break them up by project, by year, or by another topic that makes sense to you.
Stay consistent with labeling. If you file project documents for client A by that client’s name, then do the same for clients B and C. The same goes for all your paperwork. There’s no right or wrong way to label files, you need to decide on a system that works for you and how you process information. But once you decide, stick with it and stay consistent so that you don’t misplace any important documents.
Tips and tricks to remember:
- Keep your file names short and to the point. The objective is to quickly locate the folder when needed.
- Share your filing system with your team! That way they can help you file and retrieve files for you as needed.
- Don’t forget to standardize abbreviations. Make sure your team is on board and that everyone always uses the same abbreviations in the same context. Create a master list for reference and for training new staff!
- As the hanging folders get full, create additional hanging folders, divide the contents and label accordingly. Don’t try to squeeze everything in!
Make creating a consistent file naming process a priority so that you and your team can quickly file and retrieve documents. For more office organizing and organizing paperwork strategies, reach out to your NYC Professional office Organizer today.