New Year - Time for New Filing System

New Years is when I make time to setup new file folders for the year--for both myself and all the clients I do regular work for. That requires a bunch of printing labels for manilla folders. I save the label templates so it's fast from year to year. 

I also start pulling my paperwork to go into a plastic tub for storage. (I only keep current year's paperwork in my desk drawer files). First, I burn (shred) the 4th year’s paperwork to create an empty tub as the IRS only requires me to keep 3 years of paperwork. Clients’ paperwork I don’t return to them until they do their taxes, as there are sometimes questions from the tax preparer. I don't have to do this on New Year's but it's become a tradition with me because it's fastest if I have new file folders ready for the new paperwork that's to come in. 

Also, there is the mental preparation. The hardest part of a job is getting started. I perhaps enjoy filing more than most but only because I recognize its value. If I have to do it a little here and a little there, forget it. The emotional units it takes to get motivated are more than the task is worth. In the old days, I was not motivated to make nice labels at all because I thought it was busy work, not necessary. But professionals I respected did make them so which was right? Which was faster? After years of scientific research, I discovered that nice labels and a pretty filing system was faster because I never mis-filed and could always find paperwork immediately. So, when I start a new job and clients see me making labels and setting up a nice filing system, and they think I’m wasting my time and their money, they’re mistaken. I'm making them more profitable. 

So now it's this thing I commit to doing during the downtime of New Year's long weekend. If I do it all of mine and all of my clients in one day with some nice music in the background I can get into a groove and it all gets done beautifully. 

Clients who have massively disorganized filing systems asked my advice. I encouraged them to set aside an entire day for this task. If they have employees, a corporate-wide official day of paperwork client up and organization is a brilliant way to go. We discovered that if they commit one whole day to files (nothing but paperwork) they can create a whole new level of organization that they find easy to maintain. Creating a company-wide day for paperwork only is a winning strategy. If you're like me, you'll make it around New Year's. 

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