Paperwork is generally regarded as something that no one wants to do and is often left until a last minute mad rush. Does this sound familiar to you?
The good think to know, is it doesn’t have to be this way. With a small about of preparation and a great system you can stay on top of your paperwork with just a few minutes a day – leaving plenty of time to indulge in other things that matter to you.
- Create a filing system that suits your needs
Do you complete all your work electronically? Or do you also use paper methods?
For paper we recommend investing in a good filing cabinet. Think of it as a purchase for your future. Within the filing cabinet you are able to divide documents and paperwork into separate categories.
A good system is keeping everything filed by month and year – this allows for quick and easy access when you’re looking for a particular document from four months ago.
Sorting your paperwork electronically is very similar to using a filing cabinet. Create folders on your desktop that cater for all your filing needs. You can also split these folders into additional folders to further categorise your documents.
Also keep an ‘active’ document folder for anything you’re currently working on to give you quick access any time you need.
- Invest in a backup system for your electronic files
We don’t wish this upon anyone, but things can and often do go wrong with computers. It’s imperative (for the sake of your business) that you devise a backup storage system for your electronic paperwork.
This can be as simple as purchasing an external hard drive and backing up your files at the end of each week or month. You can also get hard drives that will mirror your computer and backup files automatically – this can be a great option if you feel you may forget to backup manually.
- Set aside time every day – no exception
The easiest way to stay on top of your paperwork is to complete and file all documents every day. It’s easy to get into a trap of saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Don’t let yourself get caught in this cycle. Set aside 20 or 30 minutes every day to complete your paperwork and filing.
If you find yourself too tired at the end of the day, consider completing your paperwork first thing every day.
No matter the system – you simply need to ensure it works for you and that its one that you will follow religiously.
Remember, many business documents need to be stored for seven years just like your tax records.