Looking for better ideas to manage the documents you work with? This article explores six tips for managing your documents efficiently. Keep reading below to find out what these ideas are so that you’ll learn to better manage your documents!
Working in an office can mean struggling with a lot of paperwork to be handled. Whether handling documents means organizing them, sending them to other departments, editing them, or keeping them safe, document management can be challenging.
Documents can easily be lost, destroyed, or messed up. This can easily happen when you don’t have an efficient, organized way of managing them. And, when we say documents, we mean all kinds of documents, including paper, electronic files, and even emails. All these require an efficient management system on the whole.
But, don’t worry! We have six tips that can help you develop an intelligent document archival and handling system.
1. Keep paperwork organized.
For this one, sticky notes must be your best friends!
First things first, let’s start with paperwork because this one seems to be the most difficult to handle. Paperwork is more susceptible to being lost or destroyed. Plus, no one likes a desk filled with piles of paperwork they know nothing about.
Just imagine how difficult it can be to find a specific piece of paper, especially in a time-sensitive situation. To find what you’re looking for in an unorganized office can cost you a lot of time, nerves, and maybe even money if you don’t find what you need in time. Well, to avoid such a scenario, you need to keep your paperwork organized. Here are some tips for doing that:
- Come up with a system for naming files
- Categorize files
- Use sticky notes to label them
- Use storage boxes to store them
2. Digitalize documents.
Like it or not, digitalizing your documents is more of a must-do than a “you’d better” these days.
We live in a highly digitalized world, with increasing digital data, remote work and collaboration, and so on. All these require you to have your documents in a digital form also, if not to have them in a digital form only.
Think about it: you may be working with freelancers or other professionals who live in the other part of the world. Sharing essential documents with these people needs to happen online so that the files reach them within seconds or minutes because everything moves and needs to move fast.
But, besides gaining the ability to share documents fast, digitalizing them also brings plenty of other advantages. You can store them easily, keep them safe in the cloud, and access them from wherever you are, from any device. Plus, it’s easier to find a document on your computer by searching for it than to find it in an endless pile of paperwork.
3. Be careful with file naming.
If you’ve decided to take the road to digitalize all your documents, or even if you’re working with both digital files and paperwork, how you name your digital documents is extremely important.
Here’s the deal: the name of the file is how you’ll be able to find the document you’re looking for. Think about it: if you don’t properly name your files, you may end up opening and scrolling through all files you have on your computer to find the one you need. Sounds really time-consuming, right?
Well, to avoid that, practice smart file naming:
- Don’t use special characters or acronyms, or generic terms to name your files because you’ll likely forget their meaning.
- Use certain formats such as the “dd-mm-yy” or “first name, last name.”
- Use capitals and underscores instead of periods, spaces, or slashes.
4. Sort files by format
Here’s a document sorting trick to make the job easier for you: sort the files by format.
Here’s the deal: at times, file names won’t come to mind as easily as their format will. For this reason, having your documents sorted by format can help you find what you’re looking for easier by looking in the file with documents of that specific format.
5. Send documents in PDF format.
Speaking of format, this one is another essential tip you need to know when managing a lot of documents: if you need to share them with others, send them in a PDF format.
There are so many reasons why sending files in PDF format is better than sending files in any other format. More precisely, sending files in a PDF format:
- Let’s be sure that the person you are sending to sees the exact same formatting you see.
- PDF files are almost never a concern that they can come with viruses, spyware, or other cyber threats.
- Everyone can open a PDF file, no matter the device they use and whether or not they have the Microsoft Office suite installed on their device.
- You can’t mess up PDF files by mistake because you can’t edit them without a certain PDF editing tool that allows you to delete pdf pages, edit the content, or make any other change to the document.
6. Delete old and useless documents
When you feel overwhelmed by all the documents you have in your office, maybe it’s time to reconsider if you need all of them.
Think about it: old and useless documents only occupy space on your desk or computer. No one uses them, they hold no important information, and if they are outdated, no one will ever ask for them in the future.
So, make sure that you get rid of outdated and useless documents. It’s best to set up a time frame for yourself to delete these old documents regularly to keep them from pilling up.
Also, don’t make a habit of saving every document that finds its way to you. Maybe it was sent to you by mistake, or maybe the document has been modified in the meantime, or maybe it’s simply wrong and needs to be rewritten anyway. Don’t save any of such documents because they are not relevant and will only add clutter to your computer. Instead, take a few moments to scroll through the content to see whether or not it is worth saving.