TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS: How to have a filing system that works

Imagine investing hundreds of dollars for a records management organisation to set up a filing system for your business.
The system looks impressive. The only problem, it doesn’t work!  It has been set up in a very complicated manner. The headings are so detailed that a master sheet with a myriad of categories has to be referred to before information can be filed or retrieved. The system is far too complex for your specific needs.

Imagine a filing system where you can’t find or file paperwork easily? How much time have you wasted looking for information? Time management is about managing your time. Spending precious time looking for paperwork is a great way to use up even more of your time.

Did you know that The Wall Street Journal once reported in a survey they had done that the average white collar worker spends 6 weeks a year looking for paperwork? If you’re serious about your time management, then having a filing system where you can easily file and find your work is very important.


  1. When it takes you longer than a couple of minutes to find something
  2. When you run out of floor space because there are too many piles of paperwork on the floor.
  3. When colleagues or clients ask you for information and you frequently say, “Can I get back to you later because I’ll have to find it?”
  4. When you catch yourself saying several times a day “I know it’s here somewhere”
  5. When the piles of paper on your desk are taller than you are.


  1. Clean out old or irrelevant information
  2. Write down what types of information you need to keep.

Categories and sub-categories which may emerge include:

  • Advertising
    • – Radio
    • – TV
  • Bank
    • – CBA
    • – Westpac
  • Budget
    • – 2006/2007
    • – 2007/2008
  • Clients
    • – A separate file for each client
  • Equipment
    • – Computers
    • – Faxes
  • Insurance
    • – Building/Contents
    • – Vehicles
  • Resources
    • – Newsletters
    • – Trade Journals
  • Staff
    • – A separate file for each person
    • – Resumes
  • Suppliers
    • – A separate file for each supplier
  • Training
    • – General
    • – Files for specific areas i.e.: Time Management, Work/Life    Balance

Depending on your situation a whole drawer/s of a filing cabinet may be required to house some of these categories i.e. Clients, Suppliers, Staff.


When you can file your paperwork quickly and retrieve it easily, you know you’ve got a system that works well for you. As part of your time management, being confident in having systems that are effective and take little time to use, will make your life so much easier.
It’s always the little things that make such a huge difference.

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