Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Get Organized to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals


January is National Get Organized Month. Many people start New Year’s Resolutions to earn more money, lose weight, eat healthy, get their finances in order or make other changes in their life but before you start all of those things you have to get organized. Organizations helps you create goals and sticks to them.

January is the start of a new year and the start of new beginnings. The best way to start the New Year off right is to get organized. Some people need help with organizing in many areas of the lives such as their home or office. Sometimes we get so busy with work, family and friends we forget about or are too tired to maintain our household.

Many people spend time on the weekends on during the week cleaning their house, putting things in order, throwing away things, organizing, updating, replacing and moving things around. Some people do more extensive cleaning of their house when spring arrives. Some people clean their house and donate unused items to charity. Whatever the case – everyone cleans their house or place where their live but do you get organized?

Organizing helps you easily find things, helps you evaluate what you have and prevents buying duplicate items. Being organized is a sign of hard work, discipline, dedication and attention to detail. These characteristics can carry over into others aspects of your life. Some people find it hard to start organizing. The thoughts of trying to get organized can be overwhelming and frustrating because you don’t know where to start. But just take the first step and start somewhere. Here are some practical ways to get organized to stay motivated to achieve your goals in 2016.

Shred Documents
  1. Shred. Buy a shredder and shred documents that are no longer needed.
  2. Yearly: social security statements, insurance policy paperwork (once you receive the renewed policy paperwork), expired warranties
  3. After 3 years: financial statements, monthly or quarterly policy statements, utility bills, monthly debt accounts, paid past due accounts, paid loans, past due account letters
  4. After 7 years: yearly credit reports (after 10 years), income tax returns, W-2's, 1099's, check stubs, bank statements, savings account records, monthly statements for financial accounts except records for nondeductible contributions to an IRA to prove you already paid taxes, car titles, warranties unless they have not expired
How to File Documents

  1. Organizer. Choose one person in your family that keeps tracks and files documents. Assign a backup person.
  2. Categorize. Categorize your items either in alphabetical, numerical or color-coded. Put smaller items at the bottom, larger or heavier items at the top. Possible categorizes are: home, health, financial, auto, personal, appliances or electronics, policies, loans, creditors, utilities, bank statements, retirement, etc. 
  3. Use Storage. Use items you already have as storage such as: crates, cardboard boxes, storage bins, Ziploc bags, etc. Use accordion folders or a storage box instead to store important documents and files if you don’t have or can’t afford a file cabinet. Store monthly expenses in envelopes. Keep all receipts for purchases in a shoebox, envelope or accordion folder. 
  4. File. Name computer files with easily identifiable names so you know the purpose of the file and can easily find them. 
  5. Separate. Categorize files and emails into subfolders.
  6. Scan. Scan documents electronically and store on your computer. Back them up on an external hard drive.
  7. File cabinet. Use hanging folders and labels to categorize files.
  8. Copies. Make copies of everything you carry in your wallet.

  1. Gather. Gather all receipts, monthly, quarterly and yearly statements, medical bills, student loans, credit card statements, prescriptions, financial statements, etc. and place in one easy to find location.
  2. Go Green. Scan important documents and store electronically in categorized file folders. Keep paper originals of important documents.
  3. Store. Store all original documents and copies if you don’t have the original in storage such as a safe deposit box or waterproof fireproof safe at home. Store documents in a Ziploc bag to protect them.
  4. Archive. Archive older files or files that are not accessed on a frequent basis to save on storage space.
  5. Paperless. Request electronic copies of bills, disclosures and account statements to reduce paper and save money on paper statements fees.

Use Technology
  1. NeatDesk. Scans documents that can be stored on your computer.
  2. NeatConnect. Scans documents and uses a cloud-based service that stores and indexes your documents. Makes the data they contain available from your computer or a mobile device.
  3. Dropbox. Use Dropbox to store documents.
  4. Paper Tiger. Provides an indexing system for your paper documents that is stored on your computer that lets you identify which documents are filed where for easy retrieval.
  5. Google Drive. It indexes your files and makes files searchable.

How to Keep Track of Documents

  1.  Index. Create an index or list of where each document is stored and how to access it.
  2.  Calendar. Create a bill calendar to keep track of bills. Set email or text reminders for dates and important actions.
  3. Document. Create a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or Access database and enter basic columns for accounts such as: name of company, account number, date account opened, type of account, customer service number, website, username and password, secret questions and answers, monthly payment amount, and any other information you need to know.
  4. Automate. Use apps or software to keep track of documents, personal and financial data. 
  5. Dates. Use software tools or appointment tools to keep track of appointments and other important dates if you don’t want to track them on your cell phone or using software.
  6. Review. View documents monthly to verify accuracy. Shred documents that are no longer needed. Remove duplicate documents or files. Add new documents to the filing system as they arrive.

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