This subject seems seemingly very trivial. How to manage documents? After all, everyone who receives, creates, sends various documents, bills, letters from the bank, knows how to do it. You have several binders. One with the inscription: “electricity payments”, the second “fees” and third: “bank statements”, the fourth: … and so on. Everyone knows it. It’s simple and obvious. It also seemed to me for a long time that in this way I manage documents well, which concerned my personal finances, bills, contracts with the bank, loans, gas delivery conditions, invoices, retirement matters etc. etc.
Intuitive document management
The development of documents is ussually as follow. After receiving them, I put them in the appropriate binders, with the appropriate names (you had to have a lot of binders). After time I looked at them, possibly deleted those that I considered obsolete or unnecessary. Unfortunately, despite these regular reviews there were some problems. I even didn’t think about time I spent for such operations. After some time, I came to the conclusion that in order to find them more efficiently in the future, I should transfer them to another binder. Questions arose as to, whether “credit documents” regarding my house should be in the “finance” or “housing” folder, or maybe the “bank”? He admits that personally at different times I had different doubts about where these documents are and should be. I periodically changed the place of storage. These operations of changes took much time. Despite this, after some time I again felt a lack of control over the documents I have. I did not quite know where they were. It caused stress.
How to efficiently archive documents
It is not a problem, if you don’t have too many documents. However, if you run a number of activities, you have after some time many documents and less controll of your archive. I had the same. How to manage your documents efficiently? The solution that solved this problem once and effectively was a simple database maintained as an excel (.xls) file.
Database of owned documents
What does such a database look like? It’s very simple. Its design looks typicaly, although in fact, I’m just presenting you some kind of idea. Data base should contain the following columns, although it’s up to you, how you build it:
1. File number,
4. Date of entry,
To this data base you will enter information about documents. You start by naming binders. It doesn’t matter, what you call them. Actually, you can only give them numbers as names. Personally, he issues numbers marked A, B, C. Letter “A” means binders with the most important documents, B is less, and C is totally not important. In fact, there is only one binder with the A designation. File numbers are created like that: 1A, 1B, 2B, 1C etc.
In the next step, enter specific documents. So in first column name of binder: 1B. You describe what is on the document: e.g. an invoice for an apartment, applies to: the address of the apartment is for instance Oxford street London and at the end the date of entry. There is one important condition. You put the documents in the file one by one (like in binder). It is very important to find them later. The database image may look like this.
Why such an effort?
These operations related to the creation and maintenance of such a database seem unnecessary effort. However, what are the benefits of running such a file (database):
1. You can easily find all documents using the CTR + F combination. If you enter the name of the street, apartment (or part of it), Excel will show you all the documents related to this word. If you type the word “loan” you will find out where all current and previous documents regarding loans are located (entries that contain the word “loan”).
2. You get peace of mind. By entering the file you have an overview of all documents, without having to reach for the binders.
3. You know what you have (when you put it in the binder) and what you don’t have. Often, documents are doubled.
4. Having entry dates, you will be able to easily delete unnecessary documents.
How to manage your documents? Personally, this simple mechanism enabled me to archive documents once and have easy access to them. I saved and still save a lot of time in this way, and time is money. Soon I will write in several weeks article about value of time.
I will be very happy, if this post is useful for you or inspired you to take positive action. I have a request to like my Facebook page.
If you like this post I am sure that you will be interested to read article about home budget.