Most of us have been working from home over these last weeks, trying to stay organized and by now notice that it probably hasn’t gone as expected. We most likely already made changes in our routines and the way we work.
One of the areas that cause made much anxiety when I first started working from home was what I will refer to as my filing system. An old manager of mine from years ago would say “there’s nothing wrong with my filing system, it’s my retrieval system that doesn’t work”. That is a concept that has stuck with me over time, because in reality there are not two systems, only one.
A filing system that will work does have to be thought out before hand. We have come a long way, because when I worked for that manager everything was on paper, and file folders, and filing cabinets. There was no such thing as a cell phone and computers were not something that every person had.
Now that most things are stored digitally, we have been presented with new challenges. Back then there was one filing cabinet where everything was kept, but today we have files and documents stored on our computers, iPads, mobile phones, and backup drives. Trying to keep all of them in synch can be daunting.
There are two apps that have simplified my life dramatically. The first is Dropbox and the second is Evernote. Both apps will store any type of document or photo you can throw at them and have strong search engines to be able to find documents by typing a word or phrase contained in a document.
The key is to create folders to store everything related to one another. For instance, in Dropbox I have a folder specifically for real estate forms, another for real estate clients, another one for personal items and another for company related information, to name a few. I will leave you to create your own filing system.
I’m using Evernote in a slightly different way. It’s searching capability is far stronger than drop boxes. I primarily use it for storing photos and hand written notes from my iPad. The search engine is so powerful that it will find words in photos. For instance if I take a picture of a business card I can search for the person’s name or the company name and Evernote will find it within the picture. I can also ask to find a word that I had written in a document on my iPad and it’ll find it. It seems almost magical that it can do that.
Both apps are free to use with basic functionality, which is enough for me, but have paid upgrades for more storage and additional capabilities.