It was a long time ago when I first learnt the importance of filing and being organised (and also, coincidently, thought of my business idea). It was when I got my first real job in the legal profession – a move that I thought would propel me in to a love of law and crime fighting and wearing white wigs! Alas, it was not to be (thank goodness). When it came down to it, I really didn’t love law that much and I hated studying. But I did love the situation that I found myself in.
I found myself in a barrister’s chambers that resembled an old library that had been hit with a typhoon. Imagine, if you can, 25 years of paper confined to a large bedroom space.
It was scary at first, but then I quickly discovered that I loved this. I love sorting and clearing and putting things in their rightful place. A quick call to Officeworks and I had a couple of boxes of brightly coloured folders at the ready and so I started to sort. I sorted until every last bit of paper had a pile, and then I put those piles into folders, labelled them nicely and away they went. It was hugely rewarding to see it all finished and looking like a beautiful old library again.
That is also where I learnt the importance of filing as you go. I never once let it get that bad again. I had a shallow filing tray on my desk and every time it got full, I would file again.
But what is the moral of the story?
The moral of the story is that things always look worse than they really are, and you should get yourself into the position where you simply have maintain your space rather than hate it.
Well, this is the hard part. This is where you need to screw up your courage, kick your procrastinating to the curb and delve right in to the heart of the problem. The biggest part is always starting. Don’t think about where to start or how, just pick something up and start chipping away. Take it from someone who has years of experience – once you start, you will get yourself in to a rhythm and the rest takes care of itself.
Set everything in piles of how you think you will remember things best. Do you want it in date order, or will you put like things together (insurance with insurance, marketing, correspondence, receipts etc)? How you choose to put things together is completely up to you.
A question that I am asked all the time is what’s the best way to set up my filing system? Well, not to be difficult but this really depends on you. What is easy for you? Everything that I do for clients (and myself!) must be easy, because if it’s too difficult and complicated, no one wants to keep maintaining it! People get themselves in to a tizz all the time because they think that their systems and processes should be full of whizz’s, pops and sparkles but I am here to burst that bubble. It’s simply not true. The simpler you can make your processes, the better you can remember them, follow them, and maintain them.
And so on that note…
Until next week!