File management is an important topic for any office environment and was touched upon recently in our article discussing 8 Tips to Office Management. As this is something which is imperative to an effective office, it is important to broach the subject of electronic and paper files in more detail.
Many people fail to realise that having even a simple filing system on their computer will save time when referencing or creating similar documents for their business purposes. The simplest way to distinguish between files is to separate personal and business related documents and to have a standard method of saving each individual document for ease.
An effective way to set this up is to jot down the proposed system on paper to ascertain what will work best for your organisation. Try to keep the process as simple as possible without resorting to multi-level folders within folders which can become messy and time consuming. Whether you choose to file by year, client or specific title such as invoice or receipts is dependent on the type of business you run.
It is also imperative to have some kind of system for filing email messages within your email system. As business owners rely more and more on electronic mail, it is important to be able to quickly locate any important email for the information or documentation attached.
Archiving will also become necessary at some point and the same points will apply. Make sure you label and file the discs accordingly for easy retrieval.
Once you have determined the breakdown for your paper filing system, it is important to establish the type of system you are going to use.
Are you going to implement a filing system within a filing cabinet? Or do you prefer using a folder for the management of your documentation? It may be necessary to combine a quick desk system for day to day use and a filing cabinet for storage which does not have to be accessed as regularly. Again, make sure whatever system you use facilitates quick and easy document retrieval.
The most important factor when setting up a filing system, whether paper or electronic, is to remember the K.I.S. or K.I.S.S. principle which maintains that “Keeping It Simple” will often lead to a less complicated and time-saving system.
Have you ever written a report and afterward realised that you have mis-spelt a word throughout the document? As an example, you could have typed their instead of there. I know I have… and if you have, no fear… you do not have to manually go through the report and find each word. Microsoft Word and most other word processing software has a very helpful feature named ‘Find and Replace’.
Our computer tip is to show you how to use Find and Replace in Microsoft Word.
- Ensure that you are at the beginning of your document
- Click on the Home tab
- On the far right of the Home ribbon, click on the Replace button
- Type in the Find box, the word you wish to find
- Type in the Replace box, the word you want to add to your document
- Click on the Find Next button, then the Replace button OR Replace All
If you found this tip helpful, please let us know.
The formatting of a document is important regardless of the type of industry you are in but many people are still unaware of the simple basics. If you have had a formal education you may be more mindful of the standards that your university or particular industry requires, however there is no denying that correct formatting will create a greater initial and lasting impression of your work.
An incorrectly formatted bio or proposal may mean that regardless of whether you have the skills for the project, you may be ignored purely on the basis of how you look – remember first impressions count. If a project has gone to tender, organisations could be looking at a large number of proposals and in order to save time, evaluators will immediately sort through applicants based on the cover letter and ease of format alone. If your proposal is not clearly or uniformly laid out, a letter of regret may soon be heading your way.
Organisation is crucial when focusing on the layout of a document or documents. Make sure that each thought is represented by individual paragraphs and that uniform margins are used throughout.
Verify that differing fonts have not been used in one document and that the size of the font is consistent throughout. The font size of course may be larger on headings or subheadings and if this is the case, make sure that this is true from one end to the other. Do not alter the colour of the font unnecessarily. This detracts from the professionalism of the document and while it may appeal to some in more creative industries, many will view “pink” text in a negative light.
Whether your pitching for a small or large project is important you take the time to check the consistency of the formatting before you submit or send the document.
In our last post we discussed shared six blogging tips to get you started and maintaining motivation to write is one of the hardest aspects about blogging. Here are another six tips which you can utilise to help make regular blog writing easier which will ultimately assist your desire your write.
1. Maintain Focus
It is important to stay focussed on your writing and one great way is to write up a schedule to fit in with your lifestyle and your blogging plans. If you blog twice a week then schedule three sessions during your week to write your posts leaving one extra session to refine your posts as necessary. Try to schedule them during your quieter moments or when the kids are asleep avoiding times when you may not be at your best to write.
2. Stay Ahead
To stay motivated it is best to write ahead – by a week or two – scheduling your posts as you go. Finding the motivation to write when your post is due or if you are sick or overtired will add untold pressure to your writing and the quality will ultimately be affected. Take advantage of periods when words are flowing freely and use this time to write more than one post scheduling ahead for later use.
3. Be Prepared
One thing which really helps me is to think ahead about subjects I want or need to write about. Coming up with the subject of the post can often be the hardest part of the battle. Once you have that pre-arranged then the words can follow.
4. Research Your Field
Research will also help – read other blogs or sites similar to that of yours to get ideas. A post on a similar subject may just inspire you to write about something which had previously escaped your attention.
5. Use Your Audience
Do not be afraid to reach out to your readers and ask for advice to help you move ahead. Ask them what they would like to read – they may have some questions which you could consider answering in your posts or they may need help with a particular aspect which could inspire a post or even a series of posts. Reach out to your readership using Facebook, Twitter and your blog to widen your research avenues.
6. Minimise distractions
Distractions need to be minimised when writing – it is important that your mobile phone is switched off and all social networking sites and emails are closed. Keep background noise to a minimum and turn off the television. Trying to write while multi-tasking with your social life or in the middle of your favourite television program will not help one iota.
Writing like anything else requires a discipline of sorts however at the same time keep it as flexible and fun as possible. Good luck!