Disorganized piles of mail, bills, and other paper documents can really clutter up an otherwise productive workspace. If you need an incentive to tidy up — whether at home or at the office — consider this: Studies have shown that the average person spends upwards of four hours a week searching for lost papers, negatively impacting their productivity and increasing stress and procrastination. Being unable to track down a certain bill or bank statement can also lead to missing important due dates, making late payments, acquiring late fees and finance charges, and possibly lowering your credit score.
Here’s how to get your mess of paper files and documents under control and start the new year off with a take-charge attitude and an efficient method of organization.
Designate a space specifically for document organization, mail sorting, and bill paying and do your best to keep it tidy.
File folders or paper trays work well to arrange important physical documents into easy categories, such as “to pay,” “to shred,” “deal with ASAP,” or “send out.” You should also have a shredder in the space to properly get rid of confidential or private documents, a scanner to digitize files that take up too much physical space, a planner or calendar with due dates and budgets, and any other necessary tools that will keep you on top of bill and mail organization.
Many banks and companies offer automated online bill paying, which is a lifesaver when it comes to remembering due dates and balances. Instead of digging through files and stacks of mail to find out which bill is due first, automated paying will take out the amount due on the due date month after month.
Keep an eye on your statements and you can begin to focus your time and energy elsewhere, letting the bills take care of themselves and even increase your credit score through consistent on-time payments.
Instead of receiving a large stack of paper mail to your home or office mailbox, including bills and bank statements, why not opt for a more manageable and eco-friendly option and go paperless? Your bank and many other billing companies should have an option on their website for deciding against paper statements.
Eliminating this paper, half of which you will most likely shred or recycle anyway, will clear up much-needed space and keep things flowing more smoothly when it comes to organization.
Take advantage of services that allow you to unsubscribe from junk mail, such as catalogs, newsletters, magazines, coupons, and other unnecessary documents that arrive at your doorstep each mail day. Websites such as DMAChoice.org allow you to sign up and stop receiving unwanted mail at your address.
Now take a moment to look at your email inbox. Is it crowded with promotional messages, sales e-blasts, and updates from sites that are no longer relevant to you? Take some time to hit the “unsubscribe” button, which you can usually find at the very bottom of these messages, or report them as spam. From now on when you check your email, don’t automatically delete these messages, but seek out the unsubscribe link or mark them as spam to start cleaning your inbox.
From pay stubs and tax documents to birthday cards and personal letters, storing these items in any old folder or drawer increases their risk of getting lost or damaged and makes them harder to access. Instead, purchase an efficient desktop scanner for your home workspace or office and start transferring your paper documents to a digital format.
Digitizing your documents comes with many benefits, such as saving money on paper products, conserving physical storage space, boosting security for confidential documents, and allowing for easy ways to share scanned documents from person to person. Desktop scanners such as the Kodak E1000 series and the Kodak i1100 series take up little room and are designed to easily streamline document digitization and keep files organized and shareable.
The Internal Revenue Service recommends keeping tax forms and records for up to seven years, depending on the document and your current tax situation. Keeping these documents safe and organized is important in case you need to reference them for any reason, so a lockbox or physical file folder at your workspace is helpful. Scanning and digitizing these documents and keeping them in an e-folder labeled with the year and form type may also be ideal. Make sure you shred any tax documents you no longer need.
From designating a spot to sort through papers to opting for e-statements, the options for keeping your mail and bills organized are plenty. Need advice on how to turn your home or workplace into a paperless environment? Want a recommendation for which desktop document scanner will help you stick to your goal of a more organized workspace? Contact Kodak Alaris today and we’ll be happy to assist.