Office Organization Venture: Step 1 – Filing Management

Time to be honest with you. I'm being totally open here, which is really embarrassing… But enough is enough already. Despite repeated attempts, I just haven't got a handle on the whole “office organization” thing on my own.

Here's what my office looks like today:

My Office: February 20, 2008

Part of the problem is I'm running out of space (don't ask me where we're gonna fit a 3rd kid in this apartment!). The other part of the problem is I don't have a system in place.

Just in time, my friend and colleague Tracey Lawton, has come to the rescue with her newest product release The Complete Office Organization System. As soon as the announcement reached my inbox, I raced to get my copy.

So here I've been, this past week, going through Tracey's 5 step office organization system, and I'm already stuck — at step 1! I thought I'd take a lesson from my blog buddy, Chris, and create a little accountability for myself, right here on The Savvy Entrepreneur.

Step 1 is all about creating a filing management system. This introduces my first challenge — my 2-drawer filing cabinet and small filing drawer in my desk are packed solid; I can't fit one more sheet of paper. So before I can even start thinking about putting the system in place, I need to prepare (my motto: “Planning to plan!”).

The second challenge is the fact that I must downsize my office to make room for baby #3. That means smaller desk, less stuff and much less storage. Making organizing my office an even more important task.

In order to complete Step 1, here's what I need to do, with target completion dates):

  1. Paper-based filing system: (Complete)
    • Purchase a 4-drawer filing cabinet. I ended up buying two 2-drawer cabinets.
    • Brainstorm paper filing system: main categories and sub categories.
    • Purchase colored file folders (one color for each Main Category).
    • Purchase a labeler. Dymo LetraTag.
    • Schedule an entire a day to tackle, sort and file. Scheduled for week of April 7th.
  2. PC-based filing system: (Complete)
    • Brainstorm PC filing system: main folders and sub folders.
    • Create above folders on D: drive.
    • Move folders/files.
  3. Organize Outlook: (Complete)
    • Aim for less than 20 Inbox messages (read or unread).
    • Brainstorm Outlook filing system.
    • Create folders and rules in Outlook.
    • Move folders/messages.
  4. Backup system: (Complete)

WHEW! I have a lot of work ahead of me! And it sounds expensive (time to sell lots of Out of the Box Self-Coaching Workbooks). Remote backup will be put on the back burner if, by March 15th, I can't afford it. I'll strike out each item as it gets done, so you can check up on my progress. I'll be posting pictures to keep me honest as well (no cleanup before the pictures, I promise).

If you, too, struggle with office organization, why don't you take charge and join me?

For those of you who have mastered office organization, what tips, shortcuts and resources do you use to make your office organization work consistently?

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