I recently heard a story about a person’s “filing system” that was a little shocking.
She was talking with her VA and while on the phone, she began struggling to find a document sent to her a few months ago. She looked in her email, she searched her hard drive, she even looked through a pile of papers she had stacked on her desk.
After roughly 3 minutes she was asked, “How do you organize your digital files?” She said she just keeps them in the “My Documents” folder of her computer.
And it turns out that’s exactly what she meant. She had everything, thousands of files spanning years and years, sitting there, completely unorganized, in one big bin. It’s the digital equivalent of “filing” your documents by opening the basement door and throwing them down the stairs. No wonder she was frustrated!
1. Think in terms of categories
When setting up a new file structure, think about the different buckets you’ll need to store your information. Then make a separate folder for each. In my case, for example, my main categories are:
Clients – all files related to my clients
My Business – this is where I store the information used to run my business
Personal – everything else – photos, family documents, etc.
Categorizing is more efficient than organizing filing by date (as you might with paper files).
This way, you’ll never have to remember “when,” just the more obvious “what.”
2. Make use of sub-folders
Within each primary folder, I create sub-folders – again grouped by category.
So, for example, within my “Clients” folder, I have additional sub-folders by client name. Inside each of those, I have more sub-folders (e.g., project documentation, reports, edits).
3. Choose meaningful file names
To make finding documents as easy as possible, make sure to give a meaningful name to each one.
Not only does this allow you to find what you need quickly (without having to keep opening documents and looking to see what’s in there), it makes searching your folders quicker, too!
Just follow these simple digital filing concepts, and you can definitely save yourself some time!
I think it's time to talk about business processes.
They are always there, but most of the time we are not aware that we follow a process. Preparing your breakfast is a process, you do it automatically, but still - it's a process, you had learnt it at some stage, and - you wouldn't pour your coffee on your toast - or would you?
DO WE NEED PROCESSES IN OUR BUSINESS?
Yes, we do, to prevent costly mistakes, to save some time, and to standardize tasks.
When we do things, most of the time we just do them, without thinking much of it. It's routine, and it's in our heads.
And then comes the time when you can't do the jobs in your business and you need to have someone else do them - and then - what?
How can you explain to someone else what you are doing and why you are doing it the way you do it?
That's when business processes come in handy. At the basics, they cover the main steps and tasks for a specific process, written down, accessible to the staff members you chose.
Once written down, they usually become clearer and quite often you discover that a step or task is really obsolete or could be done differently.
Without business processes, you would run your business like in a hamster wheel.
Doing, doing, no matter what, just to be exhausted at the end of the day.
Business processes give you the certainty that you do the different tasks in a defined and streamlined way, no more time wasted, no more - why? what? when?
You work on certain tasks and they come easily to you because you've done them a thousand times. From time to time you struggle a bit, it seems there is something not quite as streamlined as it could be but - you've done it always that way, so why change?
Sometimes talking to someone and clarifying why you do things a certain way, gives you a fresh view of your workflow, and you then understand that refining helps improve the overall picture.
Talk to me – I can help you with that!
Hi, I am Marion of Marion Metz Solutions