Take a look around your desk. Are you in great pain over piles of paper flooding your desk and corners of your keyboards? Are you tired of digging into your overstuffed filing cabinets but could not find what you needed after a 30-minute search (or even longer)? Not to mention the impression you might have given your boss, colleagues or customers after they saw your disorganized desk.
A study by The Imaging Source indicates that an average employee wasted over 84 hours searching for misplaced items on their desks every year.
Researchers at NEC-Mitsubishi stated:
Cluttered desks make workers ill... They were infuriated by too much clutter and paper on their desks but could not be bothered to do anything about it. They suffered from back or neck pain because they knowingly sit at their desk in an awkward position.
All the information shows that disorganized office desks not only lead to lower productivity, but also negatively influence employees' mental and physical health. Below are some effective strategies for you to better organize your documents, file cabinets and desks.
The rule of thumb for successful document management is to reduce the time dealing with paper. Whenever you pick up a piece of paper, you need to think about what to do with it and how. You can file it, hand it over to others, or throw it away, but you should not to leave it on your desk. A large amount of paper on your desk is most likely trash, although a tiny minority of it might be useful for you to keep in a file. By the end of each day, you however need to ensure you categorize all useful documents and transfer them into digital forms. The benefit is that digital files and documents are searchable, so you can quickly access needed data without having to dig through piles of paper. Also, digitalizing your paper documents can be life-saving when unforeseeable catastrophes occur.
Document scanners with optical character recognition (OCR) software are useful tools to convert paper copies into digital forms and perform effective document organization work for you. For example, the Scan2Docx document scanner, which ships with OCR software, scans documents of all sizes, including receipts, business cards, books, magazines, 3D objects and many more. With its high resolution camera head, all images look exactly like the originals and are saved in searchable PDF formats. You can work with them as if they were created via a word processor. It also scans an entire document within a second, which enables you to more efficiently and effectively manage documents. The use of quality document scanners makes paperless work environment and successful document management achievable.
However, some financial institutes or organizations may offer their financial records only in paper format, and you are required to keep them for months, years or even longer for tax purpose. Still, you can save them in PDF format and archive these digital and paper copies so as to keep your desks or filing cabinets organized and be able to access them quickly in the future.
Another effective document management is to go as paperless as possible at work.
Step 1: Switch to paperless mailing. Remove yourself from physical mailing lists, sign up to receive utility bills and bank statements online, or encourage contractors, suppliers or third-party partners to send invoices via e-mail.
Step 2: Break your printing habits and stop sending paper snail mail or documents. Specifically, save documents in image or PDF formats to share with others and carry anywhere.
Step 3: Digitalize hand-written notes you take throughout the day, Evernote and OneNote are good note-taking software designed to go completely paperless. They cover the basics of capturing and storing all kinds of information in notes, including text (to-do lists, product ideas or meeting notes), web clippings, attached files as well as audio and video notes. After you use the note-taking software, notes and notebooks will no longer clutter up and gather dust on your desks, drawers and cabinets.
You have scanned important paper copies and created new documents in electronic forms, but how do you arrange these documents and files in an effective way? Your computer needs to be as well organized as your desk, or you just move chaos from your desk to your computer. Below are effective ways to organize these digital documents and files.
First, you can make good use of Documents, Pictures, Music, or other specific folders to categorize all the documents and files. Each folder should include sub-folders to avoid all documents and files overfilling just one folder. You should give each folder and sub-folder a clear descriptive name and sort files into them. The more descriptive and accurate the folder name is, the easier you can find the documents and files when you need them.
You can also download and install Stardock's free productivity software, Fences, which allows you to organize all the stuff on the desktop by fencing them into separate sections. You can name, resize and move the fences and drag documents into them for effective file management.
Once you have finished organizing all your paperwork, you still need a push towards successful document management. That is, you cannot forget all the peripherals, cables and other hardware, lying around your desk. You might think they are not paper or documents, but the way you organize them will have direct influence upon your document management. If you are too lazy to organize these accessories and peripherals, your document management strategy will probably fail. All you need to do is remove things you never touch or use for a long period of time from your desk. You can also use cable management tools, including cable clips, cable boxes, cable yo-yos, or even free rubber bands to keep mobile and electronic devices and twisted cable lines organized, and within reach when you need them.
Document management is not as tedious as you may assume. You simply need to think digitally and go paperless! Sounds easy, does it not? Yes, document management is easy, if you give it some thought. Its' benefits to your work performance and general well-being are considerable. Go for it! You will not look back.