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Be Wise and Organize

We all have a lot going on in our lives and sometimes the paperwork that goes with everything can become very disorganized and overwhelming, especially if we are really busy.

After you lose a job is an especially good time to be wise and organize your personal business. Even without loosing a job, most of us could use a good system to help us out with all the paperwork of life. So help yourself out by getting all the paperwork in your life organized right now, while you have the time to do so.

Go out and buy a good box of 100 security envelopes, plus stamps for all, 100 large and small paperclips, one black sharpie marker, a couple dozen different colored two pocket file folders, a dozen perforated 8 1/2 x 11 spiral writing pads 100 pages each and a couple blue and black pens and a couple of pencils with erasers. Get a small calendar for this year and next year also. A small stapler and staple remover would be nice too. Now don’t go haywire here, just get what you can afford right now and gather the rest later. You may already have some of these items and the rest can be gotten at a good dollar store.

Once you have your items, find a small box, or a little shoe box for the little things and then find a bigger box to keep everything in. Everything should fit in the big box neatly with room to spare and you should be able to just reach in and get what you want. Your folders and spirals should fit standing up inside the box next to each other, like they were standing up on a bookshelf. That is where you will keep them also. Make sure the box has several extra inches in it next to the folders. They will fill up fast and get pretty thick. That’s why you need the extra room. If they become to heavy you can separate them into smaller boxes, just remember to keep them all in one place.

You now have a portable office and file storage system that can go anywhere you go. Keep the top closed when not in use and label the top with your sharpie marker in big bold letters with something silly like “old magazines” or “extra packing beads” just to keep the nosy people out.

Now lets start by labeling the folders as follows; Important Papers, Old Work, Job Search, Interview, New Work, All Unemployment, Regular Bills, Credit, Mortgage or Lease, Taxes, Home Maintenance, Auto Repair, and any other categories you have to deal with also. That will be a good start.

Also label the pads as follows; Daily Notes #1, The Budget #1, Job Search Notes #1, Remember To Do #1.

What you are doing by doing this, is you are setting yourself up for the best comeback into the working world you could possibly have, whether you just lost your job or loose it in the future.

This way you will be organized and ready for all the things that are thrown at you when you need them and without the hassle of having to dig and search for all the information you will be required to have for those requesting it from you.

Now let’s look over all the categories we labeled things and how we will use them to our advantage. After going through these and adding in some of your own, you should be set up with everything you need to handle all of your personal business transactions on a daily basis. Without wasting a lot of time on your part looking for papers you need on a regular basis, either. This gives you much more time to use for finding a job, spending time with your spouse or kids or whatever you need it for.

Everyone always says their should be more hours in a day, and by doing this you may even end up with a little extra time to spend on yourself.

Important Papers: They are any deed, document, diploma, birth certificates, certificates, adoption papers, marriage license, divorce decries, custody papers, licenses, lease, title, loan papers, IRA papers, contracts, insurance contracts, stock portfolios, passports, or anything else you have along these lines that would be a pain to get a copy of. Something official and legal that shows proof of something. Simple as that. You should have at least one or two copies of each item for that folder and the originals should be kept locked away in a safe place where you can get them if you need to show an original. NOTE… NEVER SEND OR GIVE AN ORIGINAL OF ANY PAPERS YOU HAVE TO ANYONE! NOT EVEN THE POLICE OR GOVERNMENT! DOING THAT PROMOTES IDENTITY THEFT! GIVE THEM A COPY ONLY AND MAKE SURE YOU ARE POSITIVE OF WHO IS REQUESTING IT!

Old Work: These are all of the papers you have brought home from your current or former place of employment. Forms, certificates, insurance copies, health and benefit information, 401k papers, and anything else you have collected over the years you worked for them.

Job Search: Any papers you collect from looking for a job. Keep your contacts, your notes, lists of places you applied to and anything else you write down daily while looking for a job.

Interview: Any and all papers you must have to show your employer during an interview. Remember to include a page of personal references with contact numbers and many copies of your resume, along with copies of your licenses and certificates if needed. (This is the only folder that will have some of the same papers as the Important Papers folder has, but that’s OK because you need to have them in both places to be prepared for your job search.)

New Work: This is where you will keep all of your new work papers you bring home, just as you did in your Old Work folder.

All Unemployment: Any and all notes and paperwork you have that deals with your unemployment claims. Take notes while on the phone with them also and make sure you get names and dates. The unemployment agency is fussy about you having these types of things if you call back with a problem.

Regular Bills: File all of your bills in the front pocket of the folder as soon as you get them and when you pay them, just mark them paid with the date and then move them to the rear pocket in the folder. Move the paid credit card bills to the rear of the credit folder. This way with only a quick glance a couple of times a week you can determine what you owe, when you owe it and to who it is owed.

Credit: This is where you put all of those paid credit card bills. Include any notes of phone conversations or anything they send you in the front pocket along with copies of any letters or information you have sent to them.

Mortgage or Lease/Rent: Keep all of your monthly rent receipts and anything to do with this category in this folder. You will still be keeping your mortgage, lease or rental agreement copies in your Important Papers folder and the original in that safe place with all of the other originals.

Taxes : Here is where you will keep all of your tax information needed to file your taxes at the beginning of the year. All forms, papers, and receipts. You will take this folder with you when you have your taxes done and you will also put your filled out tax copies in it along with copies of any checks you owed or got back. Use one folder per year and write the year it was for on the front with a sharpie. Once you are done with your taxes in this folder, immediately start a new folder for next year.

Home Maintenance : Here is where you keep all of your receipts, contracts and warranties for everything that you do or have done to your home or property.

Auto Repair : Keep all of your repair bills, warranty’s and receipts for all the stuff you buy for your car. Make one folder per vehicle.

If  you need a folder for something else just make it up like the rest. Now you should label the spirals.

The first is Daily Notes #1 : It is for every time you need to write something down, like when you are on the phone with a credit company or if you just need to make a list. You should leave all the notes you take right in this spiral, that way they will be easy to find when you need to refer back to them. If you quickly fill up a spiral just start a new one. Oh yea, when you take a note, put the date on the side of the page next to your note. This helps you find things faster! (Fill up the pages also, they will last longer.)

The Budget #1 : This is where you will use a couple of pages for every month and figure out your rough budget. There is much information about setting up a budget on the internet and we will have a section dedicated to that later. For now you can just try to keep up with your bills by cutting out anything that is not absolutely necessary! Good Bye Cable!

Job Search Notes #1 : This is the spiral for getting you that job. It is only for job search notes you take when you look for a job or talk to anyone about a job. Keep it handy and use it daily, because you never know when the phone will ring with a job offer.

Remember To Do #1 : Here is where you keep a page for every day as you would in a daily planner. You can make lists and keep your appointments written down so you don’t forget things. It will be helpful for remembering everything you need to do, send, mail, buy, call, contact, get, or whatever.

Here is where we start using our portable office. Keep the box or boxes in a place where you usually make out your bills or handle household business. Start by collecting all the papers that are required for each folder and use the folders and spirals only from now on.

Do not go back to your old system for anything except to transfer papers that you need to your new system. Start working with your new system, being religious about taking notes and filing papers. The more you use it the more you will like the familiarity of it and the ease of finding anything you are looking for. If a folder or spiral gets to thick, then just label a new one with the next number for it and continue on knowing confidentially that you have everything under control!

By being organized we feel more in control of what is going on. We become more efficient in handling things and that in turn boosts our confidence level dramatically!

Time no longer is our enemy working against us with each misplaced bill. Time becomes our friend because we are organized and no longer have to rush and search for papers at the last moment.

We are in control of our lives and the time we spend doing things. When we organize it gives us time to do so much more. You will be better off for doing so!

Now start gathering up the scattered paperwork and filling those folders so you to, can Be Wise and Organize.


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