Papers, Papers Everywhere!                                                                       

It’s time for you to gather everything that you need to either do your taxes yourself or hand them over to your Bookkeeper and/or CPA to make it happen for you.  Does just the thought of this stress you out? 

In these times, you want to be sure that you have counted every legitimate deduction possible.  This can mean bits and pieces of paper that could be found in places such as: the desk drawer, a mirage of file folders, some of them may be found on the computer or maybe they are even on the kitchen table stacked in one of those never-ending piles.

Developing a system to track your paperwork is even more important in 2012.  If you are getting a lot of your papers emailed to you…Great!  However, a computer is just a filing system too!  Papers can get just as lost in your computer as they can on the desk of your home office.  The job of quickly and easily finding paperwork requires a system that is simple and flexible.  Is this possible?  Absolutely!

Of course, managing your paperwork is all about having a system to do it!  There are several things that need to be considered whether you are filing on the computer or filing paperwork:

1.  The name of the file.  Keep it general.  Get too specific and you will find up with a ton of files that you will never look in again.  Try keeping a “car” file that has three simple subcategories.  The first category is original paperwork; the second is all of the car maintenance records and the third is your insurance policy.  Quick and easy….everything you need to find is under “Car”.  Not Auto or Honda or State Farm.

2.  Make your 2012 tax file now.  Designate a specific place to put all of your tax paperwork now.  There isn’t a better time than now to start your new habit.

3.  Assess yourself.  Is your current paperwork and/or computer filing system working?  If it isn’t working, figure out why.  It could be one of several reasons:  your system isn’t conducive to how you think (if you aren’t able to wrap your head around the concept then it won’t work for you).  Or, you just get too overwhelmed because you haven’t touched your paperwork in weeks and now you just want to toss it all.  This means that you should work on developing some specific habits – first, that you open your mail every day!  Lastly, whether you are handling physical papers or computer papers, it is called “paperwork”.  The word “work” is the reality. 

Even if you are using one of those handy-dandy scanner systems that you have spent over $400 on, it is only a very expensive paperweight if you aren’t using it to eliminate your paperwork.  They sound great on television but it requires you knowing how and where to place your files.  Wouldn’t it be nice if it were so easy that all you had to do is put the papers into the scanner?  Nothing is that easy.

Make the decision now to start handling your paperwork.  Develop a system that will give you peace of mind.  Take the time, develop the habit and reap the results….more time!

Linda Clevenger, Organzation Direct