A ”filer” is someone who uses file folders and file drawers to store documents, hardcopy or electronic. A “piler” is someone who puts hardcopy documents into stacks and piles while electronic documents may not be organized at all. Are you a filer or piler? Or a combination of the two?
By working on my filing skills, I’ve become a combination filer and piler. My filer focus is on documents that others need to find quickly in the event that I am not available to answer questions. Neatly labeled folders in drawers marked with category names hold the information I need to reach easily too. My piler behavior is seen on the corner of my desk, sometimes on the floor and in a guest chair. Piling is a fast-sort way of grouping like things together. Piling gives me a visual on how much material any given project has accumulated.
Electronically, my documents are organized into folders. Documents are organized by year. Emails are organized into thematic folders. Spreadsheets are organized into project and year folders. Photographs are organized by month/year and some by theme. I can’t say that I’ve mastered electronic filing. However, I can say that I can find what I’m looking for when I want it.
Why does it matter how we organize our own documents? It matters for a variety of reasons:
- Finding what we need when we need it, without wasting time hunting.
- Finding what others need from us, when they need it.
- Leaving things organized enough that when we are away from the office our team members can find what they are looking for to accomplish the work at hand.
- Leaving things organized at work and at home such that if a medical crisis occurs the people around us can find important documents and move forward accordingly.
Whether you are a filer or piler, or a combination organizer, be sure that you and others can find what you, or they, need when the information is needed.