How to Organize Your "Stuff"

Teresa Riccobuono

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When advisors ask me to help them set up systems for their business, I put on my professional organizer hat. One area that is always a big issue is paper – both the physical and electronic kind. Here’s a system to ensure you will easily find the information you want and always get to the tasks that are important.

The financial services industry requires us to maintain detailed records which afford many opportunities to accumulate paper.

As you look around your office, do you have piles of reading and client-meeting notes to catch up on?

Do your clients wonder what personal information of theirs might be floating around in these piles?

Are you behind on your online reading or in responding to emails?

Are you spending too much time trying to locate documents, whether in files or online?

Are you tired of looking at your messy office and feeling behind on your to-do list?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, here’s how to improve this situation.

The first step, with physical and electronic paper, is to separate everything into two primary categories: Is this reference material or an actionable item?

Reference material

Reference material is just what it sounds like. It’s something you keep in case you want to refer back to it at a later time. Reference materials are not actionable.

Reference material can be further broken down into two additional categories. It is either pertinent to running the business or pertinent to growing the business.