Are you also using this forced time at home to tackle some of those projects that have long been on the back burner? I recently had the chance to cross one of these projects off my list. I have had cleaning out my home office files on my list for the longest time. As I am a NYC Professional Office Organizer, I try to walk the talk so my files are fairly well organized. When our building manager decided that this was a good time to schedule a Shredding Event, I was forced to make a decision.
Should I continue to postpone tackling this project? It came down to my spending lots of time in front of the shredder or some dedicated time cleaning out my files. Needless to say, I immediately got to work and dumped 3 bags into the shredding bins. My approach? I started with addressing the top 3 questions that I ask clients when working with them to organize their filing systems.
1. Are your files paper, digital or both? In my case, I have both, though most of my filing is now kept digitally. I reminded myself of the 80/20 rule. Studies have shown that 80% of the documents that are filed are never accessed. I caution my clients to remember this when they are deciding what to keep. We want to be very selective concerning those documents that are kept.
2. What should I keep and for how long? In order to have a ready reference list for this project and to better maintain my files in the future, I created Retention Guidelines. I identified the types of documents that need to be kept and the length of time for each. When creating this guide, it is important to consult with your legal and financial advisors if there are questions concerning the contents of this list.
3. Do I need it? There can be lots of decisions to be made when sorting paperwork. Some decisions are more difficult than others as we are concerned about possibly discarding important documents. To make this process easier, I asked myself the following question: “If I need another copy in the future, where can I get it?”. I advise clients to do this as well and the decisions are easier once they can answer it.
What’s on your list? This is a very good time to tackle organizing your files as well any other similar projects on your list. Reach out to your NYC Professional Office Organizer today for additional tips for addressing your home office organizing challenges.