Paperwork Management System


You spend a very large part of your life at your place of work.  Therefore, it should be well equipped and designed so that you work efficiently, are comfortable, you can save time and feel in control.

If your physical surroundings are organised in a logical and systematic way in relation to the nature and contents of your work this will help you think in a more logical and systematic way as well.

This is why we have developed this Paperwork Management System.  You need to follow and use this system and remember, "See it, Deal with it, Bin, File, or Pass it", but don't "Leave it"!

Why you this method

A messy desk or work surface reflects a messy brain.  It creates FLAPSI HAPSI.  The pile left on your desk gives you a feeling of not being up to date and overloads your conscious brain by forcing it to think about more than one thing at a time.  You loose your overview and cannot set priorities, meet targets, or deadlines and you become or remain inefficient.  In this way you systematically create the largest source of stress and shorten your life.

A messy desk or work surface also causes your physical and psychological capacity to be stretched unnecessarily.  You cannot make capacity available for creative things and everything takes more time than it need take.

Many people postpone large jobs with the remark:  I have to clear up piles here first!  Cleaning between Christmas and New Year attack many people.  They tidy up and throw away, get their nice new calendars for the coming year and immediately after this they get a blissful feeling of total control.  Unfortunately, the piles and thus also the FLAPSI HAPSI will be there again too because it will only stay cleared for a few days.

Before this system was created there had not previously been a method provided which ensures permanent order and tidiness at your desk.  By following the guide lines set out below we can overcome the problems highlighted above and can achieve the standards of efficiency and control we expect from every employee, and can avoid FLAPSI HAPSI.

You should keep your paperwork up to date at all times.  Creating order and systematizing your work is not done merely by Spring-cleaning once, you need to change your work habits permanently and to introduce these methods and summon up the self-discipline required so that you do not slip back to the old system.

You have the feeling of overview and control of the situation every day if you use the File
Tray system.  It can create a considerable change in your life.

There are several reasons why the piles on your desk build up.  Usually we do not decide right away what to do with the piece of paper as soon as it arrives.  Therefore, it is put on top of one of the piles already there.  We want to keep so that we don't forget about them and we are afraid of throwing things away which we may need one day.  Gradually the piles of unfinished business grow.  You feel their physical presence keeps them in mind all the time.  But the pile has no organisation about it and to deal with it quickly becomes an awesome task.  You may miss a deadline or overlook an important document as it has become buried under the pile.  It creates FLAPSI HAPSI.

At all times total flexibility must be maintained, with the ability for anybody to find what he or she is looking for quickly and efficiently.  Colleagues must be able to find what they are looking for in your absence and above all once they find what they were looking for it must be accurate and up to date.

Without a preset system it is impossible to run an efficient and professional business.  At all times you should remember that it is not only yourself that needs to know where something is but your colleagues as well.

Working at a Desk

1. Keep your desk or work surface completely clear.  There must be nothing    else on your desk apart from the job you are working on now.  This will then allow you to concentrate 100% on your work.

2. Do not allow anyone to put anything on your desk.  Ask them always to use the File Trays provided.

3. Always empty you’re In-File Tray at set times during the day.  In principle, it should always be empty.  Immediately decide what to do about each individual matter and when.

4. File every piece of paper in its proper place, right away:
A. In the Wastepaper Basket
B. In the relevant tray in the File trays provided
C. In the Filing Cabinet

5. Throw away things you know you will do nothing about.  Force yourself to throw away anything you do not know for sure that you must do something about.

6. Schedule time for going through the File Trays at regular intervals.

7. Do the tasks that do not require very large brain capacity at times when you do not have it:
A. When you are not in the mood
B. When you only have 10 to 15 minutes left
C. When there is a high risk of interruptions

8. At these times you could turn to going through the File Trays.

9. If you are interrupted in your work and must start on a new job before the first one has been finished, sort out the papers concerning the first task back in the tray where they belong.  Then you will once again only have one case on your desk at a time.

10. All the papers and information you are sure you will need you must file in your filing cabinet, or file tray system, or other document store as provided which may vary between departments and or offices.

Working with a File Tray Stack

1.              If you are desk based or usually work in the same place most of the time you should use this File Tray Stack method.

2.              There is usually just one File Tray Stack to an individual.  If you share a desk then either each person should have their own File Tray Stack or alternatively for users that have little paperwork a system of pigeon hole trays should be used.

3.              Only one person should ever use a single File Tray Stack.

4.              The File Tray Stack consist of Six stacking trays, each one labelled in the following order, top to bottom:  In File, Do Now, Do Soon, Pass On, Awaiting Information, Project X.  The File Trays should never be re-labelled and the order should never be changed.

5.              The File Tray’s are used as follows:

All incoming papers and documents are to be put in here.  Then sorted to one of the four trays below, or straight to your Filing Cabinet, or your Waste Paper Bin.

This is your number one priority.  These papers are to be dealt with TODAY.  They are for immediate action.  If they cannot be dealt with today they should be in another tray.

This is you second priority level.  These papers need to be dealt with as soon as possible, usually within 7 days.  You need to review this tray throughout the working day promoting or demoting documents to other trays if necessary.

Once you have finished with the papers they should be filed immediately.  But, if     they are to be passed on to somebody else, or you need to speak to somebody about them they should be placed here.  This is NOT a tray holding documents to be filed.

For things you cannot do anything about for the moment because you do not have the necessary information or if you are waiting for a reply you should use this tray.  It should be reviewed and followed up at least every two days.  This is NOT a tray for things you do not know what to do with.

When working on a major task, and you need to break from this to attend to a different one clear the first job from your desk and put it here.  You can then retrieve the papers from here to go back to what you were doing once you have cleared the other job from your desk.  Only one project should ever be in this tray at a time.

Using Filing Cabinets
1. Filing Cabinets should be used for the storage of documents only.

2. Documents should be filed in wallet files, and then filed in the suspension files in the drawer of the Filing Cabinet.  Never must loose papers be filed in the suspension file.

3. Each Filing Cabinet drawer should have a series of suspension files, each with a tab on the top labelling the file.

4. The wallet files used should be a consistent colour throughout or colours used for topics or subject identification.

5. File in alphabetical order from front to back with the file name of each item on both the suspension file tab and on the wallet file.

6. Put a label on the front of each drawer so the contents can be identified easily.

7. Regularly review and sort the contents of each filing to make sure it is kept up to date.  When placing new information in a wallet file, look through the contents of the file first and clear out information that has been superseded or is just no longer required.