Save time, reduce stress, increase productivity – save your documents before you start

One of the biggest issues I find when I’m setting up systems and processes for small businesses is that no matter how well the systems and processes are designed, no matter how easy it is to use them, we still get people who save their my work to “My Documents” or the “Desktop”.

Why do they do this?  Well I figure it’s because its the easy and lazy way out; that when people create a new document or spreadsheet they start working in it straight away and only think to save it at the end of the day or when they have to run for a train or bus to go home or at some other time when they need to leave their desks – for a meeting say or to go to lunch.

At that time they look at the clock and think “Oh *<#^! where should I save this work. Oh I don’t have time to think about that.” So the item being worked on gets dumped in a hurry on to the desktop or in My Documents because that is the quickest thing they can think of.

Next time they go to look for that item, it’s not in the proper place in the directory structure or file plan. So they waste searching for it, and get frustrated along the way.

We all do that at some time. But there is a better way.

You need to learn a new habit.  OK  – I know! But don’t turn off and leave this page right now because the new habit I want you to create is actually quite easy.

When you create a new document save it straight away to the proper place in your directory structure.  Do this before you start putting any content into it.

Then next time you want to edit it or add to it, you can find it right away because its saved in the correct place.

Remember it takes time to create a new habit so you might have to do this a number of times before it comes naturally.  But it will be worth it and I can guarantee that it will save you time.  You’ll no longer waste time searching for documents you’ve saved “somewhere” and either ruining your eyesight peering at your desktop screen trying to find the title of the document you’re working on or scrolling up and down your My Documents folder searching for that document ( What did I call that document?)

Using standardised titles for naming your documents will help – that’s another story for another day.

Meantime the time you save by not searching for those stray documents so you increase your productivity and cut your stress levels

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How important are titles for electronic documents

Most of us don’t think about what to call our electronic documents until we’re about to save them when we’ve finished with the document for a while.  At that point we just want to save the document quickly so we can get on to the next task.

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