Alicia Nelson-Bell, HCHC
Empowering Financial Wellness Program Coordinator
Let’s face it, paperwork isn’t very fun for most of us and when we are on the receiving end of paperwork, it can get overwhelming keeping it all organized. What paperwork do I NEED to keep? How long do I need to keep it? How do I just get organized so that I can find what I need when I need it? If you’ve found yourself asking any of these questions, you are not alone. Let’s focus today on three simple tips for helping with the last question, how to get organized so you can find paperwork when you need it.
Have you ever needed an important document and you couldn’t find it, so you had to spend extra time trying to find it? These situations can be frustrating and time consuming and even costly if we aren’t able to find documents we need when we need them.
Start sorting into 3 basic piles
If you don’t have an organization system set up for keeping your documents organized and it has started to pile up it can feel overwhelming figuring out where to start, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by gathering all your paperwork into one pile. Then start going through your one big pile and sorting things into three piles: For Filing, For Immediate Action, and To Toss.
Put it on your Calendar
Getting financially organized isn’t usually something that “just gets taken care of this weekend” it is something that needs to be intentionally planned for. Otherwise, if you’re like me (and many other people), it doesn’t just happen unless it is put on the calendar at a certain time and for a certain amount of time. When setting time aside on your calendar to work on organizing paperwork, be careful not to plan on too long of a block of time that you get overwhelmed, dread it and don’t actually do it. Consider starting with 30 minutes. Get what you can done in that amount of time and schedule time again to continue working on it if needed. Be sure to calendar in regular times to organize incoming paperwork and maintain your organization system (ex: weekly or monthly).
Rewarding yourself is key to staying motivated with many things in life and getting organized and staying organized is no different. Find a budget friendly way to treat yourself for a job well done, such as having a favorite treat or having your favorite show or music playing as you get organized. Having a simple way to reward yourself can help to not be such a dreaded or avoided task.
Now is the time to set a small amount of time aside on your calendar and start getting your important paperwork organized! If you have an organization system in place for your paperwork, let this serve as your reminder to check in and see if there are any old documents that need to be shredded and updated with new ones.
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