Filing used to be easy. What’s happened?

Filing used to be easy – or seemed to be – when we only had paper to sort out.  Sure there was lots of paper and people had shelves full of binders and large cardboard folders or boxes all neatly labelled.  But it all looked efficient and probably was.organised office#1

Still is for those who still keep good paper records of their business activities. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for because the labels on the folders are so clear.Then along came PCs and Macs with their electronic documents, spreadsheets, presentations and – OMG – email.

The devices and the software came with instructions on how to put the bits together and how to use the software.  The missing link though was how to organise the information people created and stored inside the devices.

As a result many people couldn’t find documents and important business information.  No-one had explained how to organise these files so documents could be found quickly and easily when they were needed.Now our electronic life has become even more complex as we have become more mobile and use tablets, mobile phones, laptops when we’re on the move and often a desktop PC back at the office.

So when we want to access certain pieces of information, which device is it on? Did I reply to that important email? If so where is my reply?  It can be so confusing.  So what to do?

Well there are a few simple rules you can impose on yourself:

  1. Stop and think about the implications of your actions now when you want to revisit them later
  2. Consider how critical it is to send that email from your smart phone right now.  Can it wait till you get back to the office later in the day?
  3. If you really must send an email while you’re out and about, Bcc the message to yourself so it’s in your inbox on your main device
  4. Don’t check your email on your mobile phone during the day (Hmmm, now there’s a challenge!)
  5. Discipline yourself to only send email from, and save documents to, your main device.
  6. If you are ruthless you can stop emails coming into your mobile phone.  You won’t be alone. Search Google for ways to stop email on your mobile phone

There are of course more technological solutions.  I’ll look at these next time.

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