They command attention because, seriously, they file. Their desk is never covered in clutter, nor are personal belongings all over the office. Indeed, a lot of their identity centres around having an organized office and being on top of things. They are the individuals you turn to when you can’t find a document or remember when something happened or how a specific procedure should be followed – because they will most certainly be able to help you. The lifeblood of any successful, smooth-running organization – they are efficient.
With the Filer, it is not so much how they organize information, but how much information they store. Let it be said, however, that they do not pile and spread this information – they file it meticulously. It is not that they can’t let it go but that they have a hard time making decisions – particularly if the document in question pertains to a few people. “Better keep it – just in case” is usually what they say to themselves.
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for all those filing cabinets lining the walls and corridors? Or been in the stockroom at work and seen copious amounts of supplies and technology – beautifully organized and labelled – that are old and obsolete? Well, that will have been a Filer’s work.
The Filer has the biggest issues around letting go of things. As we discussed earlier, decision-making is difficult for them: they want to be sure absolutely no one else wants the document. If no one does, then how should they dispose of it appropriately (recycling or shredding)? It’s easier sometimes just to keep it, which is what they do.
So, we’re going to examine the process involved in the decision-making process of purging. Ask yourself the following questions to help you make decisions:
- What function does it serve?
- If there was a fire, would it need to be rescued?
- Who else would have a copy of this item?
- When did you last refer to it?
- Is the information still relevant?
- Does it make your life a lot easier having it?
- Do you need it?
- Is the space it is occupying more useful to you/your company than it is?
- Can it be stored in a digital form?
- Ask, “What would be the worst-case outcome if I threw this item out by mistake?” If the answer is little or nothing, throw it out.
Asking these kinds of questions will not only help you determine whether you need the item, but it will also decrease your anxiety in letting it go as you will have a clearer picture of its relevance.
If it is to be kept, then think of asking yourself the following questions:
- Is it an archive file or current?
- Can it be converted to a digital copy?
And remember these few simple rules:
- Don’t keep what someone else is already keeping.
- Seven years is good enough for most paper except some legal and financial files. Ask the company lawyer or accountant for further clarification.
Keeping stuff has a cost – either on your bank balance, your environment or your health. In this day and age, space is an expensive commodity and having storage spaces filled with clothes, toys, supplies and technology that are no longer wanted or obsolete is costly on many levels.