High powered jobs often also come with large amounts of paperwork for the business and in many cases the leadership and management of employees. Sometimes you’re grateful for a sustained block of time without interruption to concentrate on getting through your ‘to do list,’ let alone sorting and following through on the paperwork it’s creating or is coming in.

I’m the sort of person that didn’t like piles of paper as it made me worry there may be something really important somewhere within that pile, that needed addressing quickly. Equally, I had employees with lots of files sat on their desktop screen not saved elsewhere, which would have also been a total disaster if their computer crashed, as they wouldn’t be able to recover them.

If you are one of those people that does have mounds of paperwork around you or files on your desktop screen and doesn’t know where to start to improve upon this, these are my five top tips for sorting and staying on top of paperwork and electronic files:

  1. Make a list of your key roles/workload areas.
  2. Create lever arch folders/electronic files on your storage drive or cloud labelled with these areas as your headings.
  3. Sub-divide the level arch folder using file dividers/sub folders if electronically, breaking down into key areas. (for instance: a board meetings folder would then be broken down into finance, personnel, strategic planning, agenda, minutes…)
  4. Set aside and block off 1 – 2 hours in your diary each month to file what you have accumulated.
    1. Paper: Use a large clear surface and using post-it notes put your papers into common areas of your business and label with the post-it. This then makes it quicker, as you file all the related papers into the same folder all at once.
    2. Electronic: Open each main folder on your desktop and drag and drop the files into the correct window systematically.
  5. To avoid getting to that massive pile next time with paper, why not try using one of these methods below, so that you’re starting to file the smaller sub-sections as you go along day to day. The coloured plastic wallets worked the best for me!