Electronic Organization – is it time for a professional?

A few weeks ago I was introduced to Alexa Jones, the founder of Evolve – an awesome company that specializes in electronic organization, standard operating procedures, recruiting and retention programs, website creation and design and building/maintaining a social media presence. We were chatting about how so many of my clients are challenged by electronic organization and she was such a wealth of information that I asked her to be a guest blogger and share some of her tips. So enjoy the next two blogs, courtesy of Miss Alexa Jones!

Why…is an organized electronic file system important?

Everyone subconsciously uses different types of organizational systems in their daily lives. From business professionals to the stay at home parents, organization is a fundamental instrument for everyone. Electronically filing and/or organizing computer files is as simple as filing papers in a filing cabinet. Electronic filing systems simplify the filing process. Though the benefits of electronic filing are easily accessible, many can use some assistance to use electronic organizational systems to their full potential.

 This is where I can help! I have always had a passion for organizing – no that is not a typo – I love to organize! When I was two, I could be found in my mother’s closet arranging her shoes. By the time I was 4, I was ensuring all of her shoes were in a straight line, aligned heel-toe, and sorted by category, with larger shoes, like heels and boots systematically in the back guaranteeing the flat shoes in the front row remained visible.
As the years rolled on, I went from arranging shoes, to arranging primary school folders and notebooks, to being the unofficial organizer of my college household, to owning my own business, to where you guessed it, I now get paid to organize!
I always had a knack for organization and that easily spilled over into my work life. However, I realized a lot of people were not equally as OCD about their organizational habits. That is when I realized the true potential and joy in helping others meet their organizational needs!

When….. do I know I’m past due for electronic file organization?

Every time you search for a file on the computer and you think, “this is crazy! There has to be a better way.” That is when you know you are past due for electronic file organization. Some common signs of being past due for electronic file organization are:

  • Memos and mail piling up on your desk,
  • Becoming overwhelmed every time you try to organize your space,
  • Inability to locate that key piece of information,
  • Wasting time recreating things you cannot locate,
  • Struggling with using implementation systems.

If you experience any of the above, don’t worry – you’re among thousands who are struggling to become organized.

What…do I need to do to start an electronic filing system?

1.       Do It Yourself

If you have decided to tackle the task of becoming electronically organized by yourself, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin. You have years of files, but only a limited amount of time. Remember, you do not have to do it all in one sitting!

Relax – you probably won’t need an enormous multitiered system. You’ll only have to arrange your documents as much as needed to make the system work for you. Break up the project into manageable stages. Begin by creating a timetable.

For step-by-step directions on how to electronically file your documents, be sure to come back for part two in the next blog post where I’ll walk you through how to create Master Folders, the Sub-Folders that actually keep your Master Folders organized and then tell you how to maintain it all without losing your mind!

If you’re looking to get started today, check out these articles:

2.       Hire Outside Help

Among many considerations when hiring an organizer from outside the company, the most important things to consider are the size of the job, cost, and the organizer’s experience and methods. Hiring a full-service company is one option, however organization companies typically handle large jobs that require multiple organizers. For smaller scale jobs, a more reasonable option is a professional organizer.

A frequent question when preparing to become electronically organized is, “can I afford a professional organizer?” The answer depends largely on the size of project and the experience of the organizer. However, expect to pay in the price range of $50 to $100 an hour.

Most importantly, find a professional organizer you can relate with and are comfortable with. Then, make sure you learn about their various organizational methods. An organizer who sounds like they are following a protocol is a red flag. Everyone’s organization style is different – a good organizer understands that and tailors their methods to each client’s filing system to meet their organizational needs.

One of the best options for finding a professional organizer is word of mouth. You can also check the National Association of Professional Organizers website for great resource for getting started and finding an organizer in your area.

Stay tuned for my next blog with tips on how tame your electronic file chaos and create Master Files, Sub-Folders and most importantly how to maintain them all!