Below are few indicators that will help you organize your filing technique:
At times rather than printing email attachments for filing it would be quicker and efficient to just save those files on to your computer for future reference. The computer is just like a mini assistant. It helps your do a lot if you use it efficiently. If you do not remember where you saved a particular document on to your computer, you can search any file store on your computer by simply clicking the 'windows' tab on the lower toolbar of your screen, where you select the option 'Search' and then just type either the name of the document or simple few words from the text of that document and just in a matter of few seconds you will have it on your screen without you having to move around to dig any cupboards. Learn to create folders and subfolders on to your computers for better management.
2. Labeling your files:
People follow various techniques for filing their documents. The most commonly used two types of filing methods are:
Alphabetic wise - It clearly states that you label your files alphabetically which becomes easy to access.
Numeric wise - This indicates that you label your files with numbers rather than alphabets.
I would prefer a combination of both the above. Alpha-numeric sounds time consuming but it is worthwhile in case you have to manage a large volume of filing system. Remember that labeling your file is not a daily routine task; you might have to do it just once in a year. Hence, it is recommended to use the most efficient label that will help you locate documents without wasting your time.
3. Frequency of creating new files:
The next question you need to ask yourself is how you maintain your filing system. Usually new files are made on annual basis and old documents are archived. Depending on the nature of business you might need to create new files after each financial year. For example in a school or university you would renew they database with the onset on each new academic year. There would tend to be few files among the whole lot that needs more files in a particular year which has been covered in the next point.
4. Overfilling a file:
Certain components of a file might not be used on regular basis hence it would not be suitable to waste a whole file that would be used to just store few pages. You can club certain similar types of components by adding a separator or a divider which is usually a plastic sheet or thick quality paper as sub labels in a file.
To give you an example: If you have to create a file to store approval papers for conferences and workshops, it is advisable to add two dividers in that file with two labels one for 'conference' and other for 'workshops'. This will help you save on your file storage.
When you have very old files that contain very old records that are lying around in the cupboard for no use but it will be eating your storage capacity, it is suggestible that your electronically archive them for safety purpose. Usually old records tend to get misplaced and anyone can be blamed if old records are not stored properly for future verification. If there are valuable documents which are very old with signatures that need to be stored it would be safe to scan and save them in archives folder