Small Business Paperwork Out Of Control!

by Anna
(Sweden)

Today I understand where my time goes, TO PAPERS! I run construction company, small, but the papers are getting out of my control. Between bills to pay, rent to pay, dates when to pay, building materials to order which are not on time, and timesheet for workers. Its mad, how many papers I have around me! I must say I can't do it anymore! I dont sleep, never, because I worry all the time!

But I do love my work. I would like to find some easy solution to easy organization of the mess that is everyday. This weekend I'll spend putting all my papers on the floor. Its a lot of different files. Now I would need to know how to put all of those papers in files, so I can find any paper, so I can remember where to put the new post.

I can't have everything in my computer, I must have paper.

I was thinking to put them on numbers, and name of file. But I'm not sure if this is going to work. If You don't have other solution, than I will use numbers.

If you might have any easy solution, I would be happy.

Respectfully yours,

Anna

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Feb 19, 2010
Small Business Paperwork Overwhelm
by: The Organizer

Hi Anna,

We can't let your small business paperwork keep you awake at night any longer!

But... (you knew I was going to say that, didn't you)? It will take some time to get your paperwork in control so that it is more manageable.

Paperwork and home business related organizing questions are by far the most we receive on HomeOrganizeIt.com.

First and foremost, do set aside a few hours to tackle the first round. I go into more detail on a few pages which I'll direct you to in a minute but the biggest thing to do first is to sort into logical piles. I find an easy way to do this is to just start sorting! Most times when you sort, the categories just sort of emerge themselves.

Sort into piles, boxes or whatever works best for you. You can even lay down index cards and label them and then set the piles behind the cards. That way you can change the label if another name seems more fitting.

One of the most common reasons for paper disorganization is lack of time. Another is keeping track of too many papers. There are others but let's talk about these two.

Schedule a regular time on your calendar to attend to paperwork. Try to make it a time where there will be few interruptions.

As for keeping track of too many papers, that's where the sorting helps. While you sort, you'll throw away anything you don't need. You'll also have a feel for paperwork that you refer to often and paperwork you might only need once a year (i.e., for tax purposes).

Returning to your sorted piles, count how many you have. If it's more than a dozen, you have too many categories for easy paper management. Combine a few so that you have no more than 12.

Now if you feel you need to, put the papers in each file in date order with the most recent date on top.

Next, get 12 files and label them. Put the papers in the appropriate file and put them in your file cabinet.

Now it's time to schedule your next paperwork organizing session. During that session, file the next stack of papers that have accumulated since this round. It will be soooo much easier if you routinely keep up with it.

Now, from experience I know that running a small business is very time consuming. Things come up all the time and one of the first things to go is paperwork. Don't let this happen! Discipline yourself to keep up with the paperwork. It's so important when running an efficient business. I can't encourage it enough.

For more tips and ideas on organizing paperwork, please visit my Home Office Paperwork section.

Hope this helps!

-The Organizer

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