To others, you may appear as though you have everything completely organized, but in reality, you are incredibly scattered and have to jump through hoops to locate what you need.
- How much wasted time do you spend searching for “lost” files or pinpointing the documents needed for a specific project?
- Does it seem to happen most when you need something quickly?
- Are you able to easily share documents with clients or members of your team?
If any of the above sounds like you, then some of the advice below should help you get a better hold on the things that are costing you a lot of valuable time and frustration.
Keep Project Details in One Location
When you organize by project rather than by an individual, you will always have everything you need for that project in one location. You reduce the risk of missing pieces, and the person overseeing that particular project will know exactly where to grab what is needed and will understand the real-time project status. Now when your boss or client needs something, you will shine because you can provide an update quickly.
Digital is King
You may still be clinging to paper files, but unless they are legally necessary, or have some other value where you need a physical copy, it’s time to move toward a more digital solution.
But again, you need to ensure everything is accurately labeled so that it makes sense and is easily searchable. If you name a file in a rush without tying it to a project or event, it will make you appear disorganized when it takes an hour to locate a necessary file. For example, don’t name a file “Office Supply Orders,” be more specific with something like “Office Supply Orders Q4 2020.”
Do you have several duplicates or files you will never use? Delete them.
It’s OK to Have Your Head in the Clouds
Using “The Cloud” is an excellent and efficient way to store and share files. Once something is digital, there is no need to scan, copy, or print that document as you can easily share via email. If you’re sharing a file in the cloud and that individual has access, he/she can easily download it. And, it reduces the amount of time someone repeatedly requests the same file, when they have misplaced it on their end.
There are many solutions out there, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and others, so there’s no excuse to avoid setting up your files on the cloud.
You’ve agreed that all of this sounds great and would reduce the amount of wasted time, not to mention the frustration that comes with it. It does take some time to set up a system properly. If you have the motivation, but not the time, consider using a virtual outsourcing company to do the initial setup, including creating the guidelines you want to share with your team moving forward. You’ll have organized files and peace of mind.
For all of the above, it’s a process and takes time to get used to it, but like with everything, practice and repetition come ease-of-use. If you set up procedures and “rules” in advance, you’ll keep things organized.