It’s estimated that we spend 1 week to 1 month annually searching for files on our database or on our computers.  If you look at a company with 10 employees that’s 800 hours on average and at $30 per hour that can equate to over $24,000 annually wasted searching for something.

If we create systems for filing this information we can cut that wasted time.  With proper and consistent filing systems you can locate files in seconds, not minutes.  Today I give you some tips on how to set this up and make your filing systems efficient.


  1. An efficient filing system can cause employees to waste time
    1. It’s estimated to be between 1 week to 1 month per year
    2. Cutting that time can give us an extra hour a week
  2. Paper Files
    1. Minimize the amount to paper files, they are inefficient
    2. Keep key documents in paper
      1. Contracts/subcontracts
      2. Contract documents/drawings/specifications/changes
    3. Create a filing system for your contracts to organize the files
    4. Make special binders of frequent items like RFIs, contract scopes and reference docs
  3. Electronic Files
    1. Scan and file everything
    2. Create a centralized file location
      1. Intranet or use a system like Dropbox or your PM Tool
        1. Make sure you have access control
    3. Create a standardized file directory tree
      1. All projects use same tree
      2. See sample here
    4. Scan and file everything according to the directory tree
  4. Bonus Tips
    1. Use your desktop for recent and temporary file storage
    2. Batch the filing process – clean desktop each week moving to proper files

Take Action Items

  1. Set up a filing directory system
  2. Develop a filing protocol and implement


Sample File Tree

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