How to archive documents – Tips and recommendations

Archive documents

Are you looking for a way to file your documents? Take a look at these Tips to archive documents that are sure to be useful to you.

When the documents begin to grow in number and importance we begin to discover that we have an organizational problem because we must open all the folders that we have at our disposal to rescue a single document that we did not know we had.

How to archive documents

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These archiving tips are very important today. Although we have hard drives and technology, we have transferred our usual disorganization to computers,

It is common to find dozens of folders with the same name or containing only one file. Follow these tips and check the results.

Tips for Archiving Documents

To properly file a document you must follow these simple tips, which I have adapted for physical documents and documents on the computer.

It is useless to have perfectly organized files if you have them in the basement of the company. Take the most current files close to you, if possible to the side so you don’t have to get up to file the documents, it has been shown that if you have to do it, you will simply leave it on your desk.

For the computer is similar, although it may seem hard to believe, in a computer you must prioritize not to fill the desktop with documents and not important folders.

Create folders that can store documents depending on their type and save them on the desktop, organize the files by type, themes or recipients, if possible create a logical tree that leads you to the document like this:

  1. Folder: Cards
  2. Subfolder: Cards 2015
  3. Archive: Letter to Mr. xxxx

Sort alphabetically

It creates an alphabetical classification by criteria, that is to say, it creates criteria that involve the usual subjects as company, person, sales, acquisitions, permissions and within them it alphabetically arranges all the files.

For the computer is much simpler, program the file manager to organize the folders in alphabetical order.

Keep a package of new or recycled folders ready to use close by, remember, the process of archiving documents should be easy, fast and simple.

If possible, tag some folders so that you only have to write on the tag to which topic or area it belongs.

Keep the file cabinets free

The archivists you employ should always be at ¾ or less of their capacity, this to facilitate the task of archiving. If you see a full file cabinet, you will be reluctant to keep documents and they will be out at risk of being lost.

To achieve this purge the file cabinet periodically, if you cannot do so because the stored documents are important. Then move those files that are less likely to be consulted to file cabinets farther away from your workspace.

This same technique applies to computers, keep your folders clean frequently and organize unvisited files regularly in other folders.

Label your folders

You can use an automatic tag generator, this in order to keep order in your file cabinet.

For the folders in your computer, it is convenient to use simple labels for the main folder, more complex labels for the secondary and tertiary folders, and keyword names for the documents.

Buy a good file cabinet

A quality filing cabinet will always be better than a poor quality one, just think that a good quality one will last for years, while it is checked over and over again, without generating excessive noise when sliding its drawers. A poor quality filing cabinet starts to ring within a few months of use.

In case of hanging file cabinets

  • Label folders, not hangers, so you can move them around without taking the hangers with you.
  • Use a folder per hanger.
  • Just like you keep empty folders, you keep hangers empty.

Debug your files at least once a year

Choose a date each year to clean up your file cabinet of all those documents that aren’t worth storing because they won’t be reviewed. Stores those that do and leaves free space in the file cabinet.

You can perform partial debugging when you have some free time such as waiting for the phone or waiting for a computer update.

To purge material, you have to ask yourself:

  • Is there any value to what I’m filing?
  • Do you use it regularly?
  • Is it hard to replace?
  • Is it out of date?
  • Is it of legal importance?

For the computer the same rules apply, clean the folders on a scheduled date deleted all that you are sure will not be needed again.

If you’re not sure you can upload it to a cloud storage service.

How to file on the computer?

In the previous point I explained to you some typical steps that you should follow with your computer, however, in this point we will go deeper into the subject:

Uses simple and consistent nomenclature

Give your folders names that you can remember, that are simple and explain what they contain.

Apply this system with all the file types you need to handle.
Your nomenclature must be:

  • Direct, with short and brief names.
  • Use abbreviations to explain the contents of the file.
  • Group by theme or by year.
  • Don’t include folders with too many subfolders.
  • Use upper and lower case to highlight the name,
  • Use symbols to emphasize an important point.

Leave what you need on the desk

All those folders you need to have at hand, those that do not, leave them in documents or a related folder.

Save space with .zip files

If you need to store important files that you don’t use much, compress them into a zip file. When you need them you just have to decompress them and use them.

Create backups

While a paper file can deteriorate, one on a computer can easily be lost. Protect your documents by keeping them in the cloud and on a removable storage device.

This prevents any problems related to the loss of important data and files.

Ask your company about the policies and customs when storing data, some for security do not allow the use of removable memories and others do not allow storage in the cloud.

Importance of Archiving Documents Properly

A few years ago while I was studying Quality and Productivity, as well as business management. I understood the absolute importance of proper archiving of documents.

According to our friends the Japanese and their management based on the 6 S an orderly environment is a productive environment, just imagine the following:

You are ready to present your latest project at the university. All you need is that last letter that your academic tutors gave you months ago when they accepted your project and which, in your stress, you have lost in your room.

You have two options:

  • You’re looking for it and you’re wasting valuable time.
  • You order a new one and waste even more valuable time.

If you transfer this situation to a working environment, the problem becomes even more complicated. Imagine that important documents, cheques or letters of dismissal or acceptance are misplaced. This slows down the company, generates losses and can even lead you to lose your own job.

I will always remember an opportunity when a replacement secretary took over the reins of my father’s office, in one week had organized all the files of the place into folders that, to date, had remained completely empty.

This made it easier to locate documents and approve projects quickly.

For that and more, you should follow the tips to file documents that I explained earlier, will make your life easier and will create healthy habits.

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