Whether it’s for work or home, good record keeping is a must. Although you may not necessarily work in a fully paperless environment, setting up an efficient electronic filing system that is easy to maintain, is essential for any type of office.
Your electronic filing system should help to reduce filing time and make retrieving documents easy. Here’s how to get it right.
Think about how you wish to structure your filing system. It may in numerical, chronological or alphabetical order, or a combination. (E.g. the main folder titled ‘Photos’, each sub-folder labelled by year and each photo in numerical order.)
Top Tip: Try not to have too many sub-folders – this helps when locating files.
Individual documents and items should be correctly named so that you know exactly what the file contains without having to open it. (E.g. 2012-06-30 Tax Assessment)
Top Tip: Name files with the date first – this will automatically sort your documents in chronological order.
Try to be as concise as possible when labelling documents. Naming folders and files in a uniform manner will keep your directory neat (i.e. spaces, dashes and capital letters should be the same throughout).
Top Tip: Tidy as you go. If you come across something that doesn’t match your filing structure, make sure to update it then and there.
You should be able to locate your documents in 20 seconds or less. Correct naming of files means you will be able to make full use of the search functionality on your computer and be able to retrieve items instantly.
Top Tip: Colour code your folders so you know which items are actionable, need updating or can be deleted on a set date.
A good backup system is essential for electronic filing. A combination of an external hard drive and cloud-based software is the best way to ensure your important documents are safe.
Top Tip: To prevent unauthorised access, consider encrypting sensitive documents and files.
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About the Author
Emily Cooper, owner and Virtual Assistant at The Admin Assistant, was born with a passion for administration and organisation. With vast experience working in various high-pressure office environments, Emily created The Admin Assistant to provide remote administrative solutions to individuals and businesses across the globe. Emily’s knowledge, skills and strong work ethic, combined with current and emerging technologies, help her clients to work smarter, not harder.
Photo credit: Marian Steinbach www.flickr.com