Managing Business Paperwork: 10 important tips

by Ashvini on October 7, 2011 · 8 comments

in Productivity

Paper arrives in tides of mail every day and must be conquered to prevent loss of important papers that require action. Sources of inbound mail can be managed and even eliminated through some specific efforts to reduce the floods. Action is required to reduce the amount of paper in the office because of the time required to manage the organization and use of the paper. One major source of paper is the internal printing activities of employees. Avoid the temptation to print information that can be accessed online. Follow these tips to reduce the amount of paper that must be managed and organize what must be kept.


1. Know what to keep

The major reason people keep too much paper is because they anticipate needing something later. Ask the accountant, attorney, and financial advisor what copies must be kept and purge the rest. Most paper can be recreated if necessary so keeping copies of everything is not necessary.

2. Separate short-term and long-term

Legal papers and insurance documents must be kept, but having a separate place for these types of papers reduces the size of the files. A fire-proof safe is the best option for the irreplaceable documents. Another option is a safe deposit box at the bank if natural disasters are common in the area.

3. Organize existing files

Schedule a day to purge the existing files and organize the remaining paper. Make a meaningful system and create a master sheet for easy reference. Recycle the paper that does not contain business identifiers and important information. Shred everything that contains this information.

4. Go paperless

Choose electronic billing wherever possible and eliminate copies of bank statements and other monthly. Set up electronic reminders for bill due dates. Contact vendors to discover which ones will issue only electronic statements and bills.

5. Manage the tide

If magazines and catalogs are arriving but never read, cancel the subscriptions and donate the old copies to a salon, senior center, or physician’s office. Carefully evaluate every piece of mail that arrives and seek to eliminate it.

6. Handle once

When the mail arrives each day, sort it immediately without setting it down. Throw away anything that does not require action and file documents that simply need filing. Avoid setting the mail aside for later because more mail is coming tomorrow.

7. Schedule time

Have a specific time each week designated for organizing the office space and putting away the paper. As the files become more manageable, this time can be used to organize the email and electronic tasks that demand attention.

8. Shred immediately

Keep the shredder within reach and destroy all documents that contain personal information. Refuse to create a shred box because that habit makes another pile of paper that must be dealt with later. A shredding service is good option for certain types of businesses that are required to destroy large amounts of paper each week.

9. Expect to win

The goal must be a clean desk and organized office. Accepting less than perfection will allow paper to win the war. Some people are so organized they can handle a daily effort to stay organized, but most require a reminder to beat back the tide of paper each week. Winning the battle is easier after the initial setup activities have been completed and other paper is simply added to the established framework.

10. Use small increments

Rather than scheduling large blocks of time each month, take some time each week to organize and get ready for the work activities that bring in money. Work consistently in the personal work area to manage the paper that accumulates without realizing what is happening.

Once the filing system is purged, employees can participate in maintaining the uncluttered appearance of the office. Require everyone to participate by organizing their own workspace and accessing the common work area according to the filing system without losing important documents. Some businesses will hire a young person to maintain the filing because this is a good entry-level position that benefits the entire office. When the files are kept organized, other duties become easier and less time is spent looking for a piece of paper.

James Adams is interested in keeping up with tech and business news, and can often be found reading about the latest business ideas and gadget to hit the market. He puts his expertise to good use at a small business called Cartridge Save, where he writes about gadgets like Epson ink and other printer cartridges.

Ashvini’s comment : Did you like these wonderful tips? I face the problem of excess paper. Do you? What else do you do to manage your paperwork?

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Tyra December 10, 2011 at 5:15 am

These tips really are the things to do in times of managing loads of files for work. Some people just start working without sorting and organizing these files and don’t think on what to prioritize. This is very informative and pointed out well. Got to share this. Great job Ashvini!

Prosklitiria Didyma October 30, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Thank you for sharing with us this list Ashvini. I’d like to comment on “Go paperless” tip.
Yes this can help but on the other hand if you loose control you may be paperless but still confused with millions of digital files around your hard disk waiting for you to act on!

Veronica Cervera October 16, 2011 at 5:17 am

A lot of companies do aim for a paperless office. However, having paper around seem a fact of life. The next best thing is to at least organize them properly. The tips given here are great. It’s all boils down on how good one organizes them, in a way that everything will appear as if they do not exist.

Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech October 12, 2011 at 5:59 am

Hi Ashvini, I agree with you, paperless is best! Sometimes I will email myself information to keep it handy. If your information is paperless, you won’t lose it and can access it wherever you have internet access.

I’m not totally paperless yet, but the sooner the better, as far as I’m concerned!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena October 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I don’t think anyone can be 100% paperless. We need to keep the hard copies of our work sometimes. I think knowing you(tech savvy as you are), I am sure you are doing a great job at optimizing both.

Thank you once again so much for your kind comments :)

Aswani October 9, 2011 at 1:02 am

No such paperwork here. Bulk of the work is online. So, facing no probs as such. Anyways, thanks for sharing your valuable tips. Really appreciated…Keep writing..!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena October 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Hi Aswani,
Glad that you liked this post. Keep coming back bro :)

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