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Color Coding Tips: Color Yourself Organized

Jul 1, 2008
Do you spend a lot of time searching through files to find what you need? This article is designed to provide you with useful information about color-coded filing systems that will help you file, identify and retrieve your documents quickly. Specifics may vary from person to person; however, the following information includes helpful and important guidelines from which everyone can benefit.

Color coding your filing system is a great way to organize documents and information. It trains your eyes to instantly recognize files and reduces the time searching for items you need - all useful when organizing a home, office or school. It's a cost-effective way to organize your documents and converting your existing filing system to a color-coded system can be done in no time.

Color-coded filing methods include alphabetic, numeric, alphanumeric, categorical, regional and even standard identifiers to your specific industry. The right color coded filing system will virtually eliminate misfiles (misfiles break the pattern, allowing for easy identification and immediate correction), improve retrieval times and increase efficiency. Research in offices has shown that the use of color in filing projects can reduce finding time by 33% or more! Color-coded filing systems will allow you to find things faster and in turn, you'll be able to work faster and be more productive.

Here are three color coding tips that will help make you and everyone who uses your filing system more productive:

Color Coding Tip #1: Differentiate your categories. The most obvious advantage to using color when you file is the inherent ability that color has to divide filing categories. Let's say you have three types of customer records to file: one for orders, one for deliveries and one for invoices. If you put all the documents relating to orders in red folders, all delivery paperwork in green folders and all the invoices in yellow folders, chances are very good you won't ever mix them up because you'll always have a visual signal as to which should be filed where.

Color Coding Tip #2: Think in blocks. In a hanging filing system, the best way to color-code is by creating blocks of color in each drawer. For example, if you're filing alphabetically, all the A folders could be colored in blue, all of the B folders could be colored in orange and all of the C folders could be colored in green. By utilizing this type of color-coded organization system, a continuous block of same-color folders all containing documents relating to the same alpha section will all be in the same place in the drawer. That makes it faster and easier for your eye (and your hands) to go to specific sections in the drawer.

Color Coding Tip #3: Use reverse psychology. Another way to increase your filing productivity is by using colored folders that are reversible. Colored folders, for example, have a lighter shade of the outside color on the inside of the folder. This allows you to reverse each folder and provide yourself with twice the color-coding options!
About the Author
Sharon Mann is President of the I Hate Filing Club, a group of nearly 100,000 office professionals who hate filing but love finding new ways to become more organized. For information about how you can get new ideas, sample new products and connect with your peers, visit www.Pendaflex.com.
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