Think Laterally and Have Less Stress
Do you wish you had a helping hand to organise all the clutter on your desk? Do you worry about missing important paperwork?
We're sure you've got better things to do than spend countless hours searching for files and papers and stressing about missing documents. Let us help you start a fresh filing system using Avery® Lateral Filing. An Avery Lateral Filing system (you'll often see them in doctors' surgeries) is a great space saving system based on colour coding your files, which allows you to find files easily and identify misplaced files. Here we show you how to start with the basics and work your way towards building a super organised office!
First Things First, Bit By Bit
If you only have two hours this afternoon to work on your filing, it will seem to be an impossible project. You can implement filing piece by piece if that's what works for you. If that's how you need to implement your filing, then each time you tackle a piece, ask yourself 'what are the documents that are my priority today?' and 'what do I need to be able to find easily?'
Start With Sorting
When implementing any filing system, sorting your documents into categories can be quite a mind-numbing task! The good news is that it is the foundation of a great filing system.
The best way to start filing is to sort and categorise your documents by subjects. You might have piles for GST, superannuation, bank statements, general expenses, lease and rental information and wages. Within each category, you can then break it down further - you might split general expenses into phone bills, electricity bills, company car payments and sundry expenses. You might end up with lots of different piles, but that just means you'll have a well-organised filing system.
While you are sorting through, watch out for documents that you need to archive, rather than file for easy use. You might not want to keep files that you only look at once a year on hand. You don't want to create more work for yourself!
Choose Your Files
It's time to take a look at where you put all of your documents! Avery has a terrific range of lateral files to choose from. If you need to write information on the file, you may like to choose the Lateral Notes File range, lined and ready for your notes! For important information that you would like to secure properly, it will be ideal to use a shelf lateral file with fastener. Alternatively, you may choose a D Ring file for chunky documents (like a year's worth of petrol invoices), or instead of lever arch files. Each of these files has a side tab where you can fix your filing label later.
Take a look at our full range of shelf lateral files and accessories - there are lots of options. You can pick from shelf lateral files, lateral document wallets and lateral notes files. You can mix and match to suit your needs!
Choose Your Colour Coding Approach
Lateral filing uses colour coding, where each letter or number has a specific colour. As you scan your eye across files, it becomes easy to identify a mis-filed item when the colour coding doesn't match everything around it!
Now that you have all your documents sorted and your files ready, it's time to choose your colour coding system. Choosing your approach to colour coding depends on your department and the nature of your work. You can choose to file by alpha coding or numeric coding. A typical situation is when colour coding employee records, each employee's file is coded using the first three letters of the employee's surname. You may also find that adding a year (such as the year the file was created), will help you find files faster.
Now it's time to create the labels for your files!
If you've spent a long time sorting your documents, we have great news! Instead of individually applying coloured labels (one for each letter), you can use Avery FilePro® file labelling software and Avery Lateral Filing Labels to create a single strip label that has all your file information. You can apply one label, instead of many little labels to your files. Avery FilePro has numerous pre-designed templates and colour options you can use to customise your filing labels, so you can simply and quickly design and print your labels. Check out how easy it is to use Avery FilePro to fly through creating your file labels.
Putting It All Together
It's time for the fun part! Get your documents, your files and your labels and take a seat. Start applying each label to its file and insert the documents into the file. You'll find it quick and easy with all the file information on a single label.
Now you'll need to put the files somewhere…it's the final step in implementing your lateral filing system! You'll need to figure out what physical location of the files works for you. Consider whether other people share the files with you, and how frequently you need to access them. Have a think about what files need to be held in locked cabinets. The storage unit (file racks for desks, shelves or drawer cabinets or lateral filing cabinets) you select will depend on factors like these.
The Finish Line
You've organised your office! You've de-cluttered your paperwork, sorted through and created relevant document categories. You've created labels and applied them to files. You've figured out the location and filing unit that meets your office's needs, and put away all the files. Now it's finally time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee, admiring the organised office. You'll have the documents you need at your finger tips!