Business Office Administration, daily organizing routines, for every day tasks, and for keeping on top of paper. This is our final post in our Organize Office Makeover Series. In this part of our series, we are going to put the final touches to our beautifully organized office, and have a look into the business office administration tasks. The tasks that are part of our daily organizing routines, and those which will keep our office organized.
First up check out this video from the author of Get Things Done, David Allen
Buy David Allen’s Book for Amazon
If there is one book in the world that will help you in setting up your daily organizing routines, weekly and monthly jobs it’s this one. David Allen is the number one respected authority on Business Office Administration, and getting things done. If you haven’t read it yet, I couldn’t advise you more strongly. Click here for link to Amazon Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Time to get to that paper monster
This is the quickest way that I know to get through a pile of papers. If you have a filing cabinet you can do it this way. Alternatively you can use a expander file. If you have old papers that you need to keep you may need a archives file folder as well.
Keep in mind that all your bills are now available on-line, and unless you need the papers for tax purposes, there really isn’t that great a need for you to keep it. How often have you ever had to search for a year old phone or electricity bill? Even bank statements. If you use internet banking, you can print bank statements yourself going back a long way. So think of it this way. If I keep it I have to file it.
It’s a good idea to have your most important papers, birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance policies, etc, in a special file system of their own, if you don’t own a filing cabinet. Again, a expander file will do the trick.
You will also want a smaller expander file, to collect your incoming bills, and paper work that needs to be taken care of, through out the month. I suggest using one of these, even if you have a filing cabinet.
You’ll need: if you have a filing cabinet
a garbage bag
labels or black marker
a small size expander file
You’ll need: if you don’t have a filing cabinet
a garbage bag
post it notes
1 expander file for current years statements and receipts and notices
1 expander file for previous years statements and receipts
1 expander file for very important papers (passports, birth certificates, insurances, investment papers)
a small expander file for keeping bills to pay, papers that need an action to be taken,(school excursion notice)
The coupon size expander file below is perfect for collecting your bills and papers to be action-ed for throughout the current month. These plastic ones featured below have 13 pockets and are only $4.99 from Amazon. C-Line Biodegradable 13-Pocket Expanding File, Coupon Size, 1 File Folder, Color May Vary (48410)
The red and black expander file is from Amazon $8.25
Soul Charcoal Grey Geometric Pattern Accordion Expansion File
For Petty Cash type receipts, store purchases, etc
For cash receipts, it’s best to grab a box with a lid. Start a new one each financial year. As you get cash receipts throw them, straight out of your wallet and into your lidded box, so that you have them on hand, should they be needed for a return of purchase.
For Petty Cash receipts that are tax claimable
For tax claimable cash receipts, keep another box, the same with a lid. Throw your cash claimable receipts into the box at the end of the week, when cleaning out your wallet. Use the box for the full financial year.
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Sorting Papers into Files
- Grab a pile of papers
- Make a pile for action/to-do
- Make a pile for very important papers
- Make a pile for to file
- Make a pile for throw away
Sort pile into one of four groups and throw away the throw away pile
Quickly sort through your pile of papers, placing them into one of the four piles. Do this as quickly as possible. Stay focused. No time for reminiscing, getting nostalgic, angry, frustrated, no emotion other than pure focus. Once at the bottom of your pile, that your sorting. Throw away the throw away pile. You can shred these later if necessary.
Sort your action/to-do file into your expander file
Now grab your action/to-do pile. These should consist of your current monthly bills, and any paper work that requires action. There should only be your current statement for each account that you have open. Now grab your action/to-do expander file, and file each of these pages. In a 13 slot file, there should be a slot for each account and a couple spare for your other correspondence. Name the files as you put them away or write a list on a pad and sort it alphabetically, then write the names into your expander file.
Very important papers sort into the VIP papers expander file or hanging files
Grab your VIP papers and sort them into the expander file or hanging file. You should have a slot for each category, on it’s own. eg: passports, medical insurance, car insurance. As your going along, make certain to name the file slot as you put your papers into it. Keep a list on a piece of paper so you can have it sorted alphabetically. Once you have put away all your important documents, then you can add the file names. Eg: Passports, in black felt tip pen, or with a label maker.
Next file your last pile of to file papers
These papers will be filed between two expander files. One file for the current year. The other file for previous years. Remember is best to be a little ruthless and know, that any of your papers are available to be re-printed by contacting the account holder. Providing you check your statements for correct payment when they come in, if all is correct, you are fairly safe to shred them. Unless of course you need them for tax purposes.
Alphabetical Printed Labels, the best permanent solution
As this is a permanent solution to your paper piles, I suggest that you list the account names on a piece of paper. Separate piece for each of the three piles. As you get to the account name/type write it on your list and then when all your sorting and filing is done, you can put your lists into alphabetical order. Print a label. Place the label into your expander file or your hanging file.
For some extra information on organizing your paper files, you could take a look at these sites;
embracinghome.com how to organize office paper files
the organizing boutique .com : organizing paper files
Going paperless is a frightening thought, I know! However, if you are able to take care of all of your papers, by storing them electronically on your computer, at the end of the day, you will have miles less mess around your office. There’s a number of different ways that you can set about this task. This is the system that I used:
A digital camera or phone
One note or Word or another digital system that allows pictures and notes
Google calendar or Outlook or another digital calendar
Large Expander File
To Organize your Papers Digitally
- Sort your papers into piles, as we did above,
- You need to open an internet banking account, if you don’t already have one.
- Open a new note book in One note.
- Use a page for each separate account
- Take a picture of the latest statement for each account
- Make a note in the one note file of all the account information
- Upload the picture to your computer and into your notebook
- If you have an iPhone you can use one note for iPhone, take the picture from one note directly.
- Go to your digital calendar and make a reciprocal payment date for each different account.
- One day in the week choose as bill paying day and at a glance for your calendar, you can see which accounts are due. Pay accounts by Bpay, straight from your bank account.
- Once your comfortable with your new system, you can even tell your account provider that you no longer need to get paper statements.
- For your special papers, make certain to file in an expander file. Keep in a safe place. It’s always a good idea to keep a digital copy as well.
About One Note
Microsoft OneNote 2010 gives you the ideal place to store and share your information in a single, easy-to-access location. Capture text, images, as well as video and audio notes with OneNote. By sharing your notebooks, you can simultaneously take and edit notes with other people in other locations, or just keep everyone in sync and up to date. You can also take your OneNote 2010 notebooks with you–view and edit your notes from virtually any computer with an Internet connection or your Windows or iPhone.
If you have to do a hundred things all at the same time and try to catch up with your priorities plus work on anything at any given time, when situation calls or interest tickles, without having to worry about where you left off and where to begin with, OneNote is by far the best software that I’ve found. No more need for the complete office package.
OneNote 2010 Retains Formatting when you copy from the Web or other apps, & accepts text, photos, handwriting, drawings & audio. OneNote 2010 lets you put ALL your data in a single spot & find it again in a couple clicks.
Purchase OneNote 2010 today from Amazon Microsoft OneNote 2010 for the bargain price of $65.00
Routines and Habits for Keeping an Organized Office
Once a week, I do this on a Friday : empty receipts from wallet into receipt box.
Once a week, I do this on a Thursday : pay accounts on-line. Update financial digital records.
Everyday: Collect mail, open mail, file mail in small correspondence (smaller accordion file) file.
On Thursdays when I enter the new statements and pay accounts, I clear the accordion file also.
Digital Filing for Other Papers Using a Scanner
Another way to go with your digital filing, is by using a scanner. Again I would recommend using one note 2010. Say you want to keep your recipes on your computer and you have tons of pull outs from magazines. Creating a Note Book, or File called “Recipes” and sub-folders related to specific meals like “Entrees” and “Side Dishes” would be how I would do it. Put a limit on the amount you create, otherwise you may undermine your whole strategy of finding things quickly.
Instead of taking a picture and uploading it to your computer, you scan the image through your scanner, and save the file to where ever your going to store your recipes.
It’s also simple once you get the hang of it. Make certain that papers you want to add to your computer during the week are stored in your folder and not left in piles, to get cluttering up your office all over again.
For some extra digital filing info check out these sites:
mickey mellan : has some good idea’s when it comes to digital storage of paper files
diy life : go digital and get organized
intuit.com : has 6 apps to help you get organized with your digital storage
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Final post in our organize office series:
Series to Date:
Please leave a comment
Did you decide on going with the digital file system for your business office administration, or the manual file and file cabinet paper organization. Please leave a comment below.
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As always, thanks for reading,
by: Sharon Thoms