Stylize

Cloud Backup Yes or No

My digital backup provides so much peace-of-mind.

My trusted mac has gone a bit wonky on occassion. Yes, it's true. Last episode was some type of permissions issue. After a reinstall of the system and all my applications, things got pretty much back to normal. Lucky for me my computer files are backed up daily. On two different hard drives. I'm also glad it wasn't a computer hardware issue. My logic board and hard drive are healthy. But the the whole episode put a wrench in my week and a bit of fear in my heart.

So much of my life is on this computer.

My computer backup is a box. I have a hard time trusting the cloud. I mean really, the idea that everything in my life is floating around the websphere makes me queasy. Particularly digital files that contain personal information. I tried a cloud back-up a few years back. It didn’t work for me;

  • My computer slowed to a crawl during back-up
  • I had privacy concerns
  • Files were not instantly accessible or even easily accessible
  • Files could become unavailable due to company closures
  • Files could be compromised due to poor management
  • Web service outages could cause unavailable access
  • It just didn’t feel right. Life details, all in one location, out of my control.

A box was a better solutions for me;

  • I know where it is
  • I can take it with me
  • I can access it immediately
  • Its not being backed up to servers in unknown locations
  • It doesn't slow me down
  • It doesn't cost me monthly
  • I have two, so if one goes I’ve got the other

I am grateful for a few things that give me computer confidence every day.

  1. IoSafe Solo Fireproof and Waterproof External Hard Drive
  2. A Seagate hard drive. To Back-up my back-up.
  3. Macs Time Machine - Digital History Back-up
  4. SuperDuper - Mac System Recovery and Data Backup

The cost of the hard drive pays for itself daily. Peace-of-mind (if that is even possible with technology) is priceless. Here's a few additional resources regarding ioSafe. They are quickly becoming my favorite resource for digital paper peace.

This is one of many videos on YouTube torture testing an ioSafe external hard drive.

IoSafe is also developing a fireproof waterproof NAS/RAID - like an aircraft black box for data on your network - protect pictures, videos and business data. It's the best of both worlds—a private cloud. Find out more on this Fireproof Waterproof Private Cloud Storage

I’m a mac girl. Been one for twenty plus years. I appreciate technology and the convenience it provides. But, I do not take it for granted. I hope you don’t either. So, what’s your back-up? Cloud or box? What boxes do you love? What cloud products provide you with the most peace-of-mind and why? I would love to hear how you have taken back-up action. 

 Updated 2012 Sept

 
 
paper organizing challenges

If you know where you're struggling you can create filing solutions that will make your life easier. Do you know what is keeping you from getting your papers organized? Could it be any of these common paper organizing challenges?

  1. Retention - knowing what to keep and for how long.
  2. Flexibility - the freedom to add subjects as the responsibilities of your life change.
  3. Recall - file and find your papers fast without having to count on complicated indexes or computer programs to access your information.

If you're ready to create a home filing system that will work for you today and years down the road, consider the three biggest paper organizing challenges above. Then make conscious design decisions to address them.

Retention-conscious
Create a filing solution structured around how long you need to keep your papers. This will give you easy access for quick monthly filing and year-end tax-prep. At the same time it keeps all your support records and essential documents safely filed. Ready for an emergency.

Action Center or Tickler File = Simplifies daily decision making and paper management
Everyday File = Keeps current year’s papers easily accessible for quick tax prep and reference
Important File = Keeps support records from being lost in piles of reference materials and everyday info
Reference File(s) = Keeps reference materials collected and not cluttering counter-tops
Vital File = Keeps vital documents safe, secure and in one location for quick access

Flexibility-conscious
Design a solution around 5 simple filing categories. This feature gives you the freedom to add new subjects seamlessly and arrange files to your liking. Giving you an expandable system to file and find your papers effortlessly for a lifetime.

Everyday = Time every day for family and friends
Wealth = Money for all things hoped for
Wellness = Health in mind, body and spirit
Home = Comfort and security at home and in our communities
Interests (or Fun) = Activity and adventure that enhance living

Recall-conscious
Use color and graphics consistently and consciously. This is highly effective filing solution for creative types. And, we are all creative. This feature provides a standard for visually tagging and labeling any subject. An approach that makes your paper filing almost intuitive.

Everyday = Aqua {a sense of tranquility, serenity and patience}
Wealth = Green {abundance, prosperity hope and compassion}
Wellness = Orange {enhances a sense of balance and self-esteem}
Purple = Home  {calming to the mind and nerves and encourages creativity}
Yellow = Interest or Fun  {promotes positive change and laughter}

Red = Important {a sense of protection from fears and anxiety}

 
 
simple filing system basics

Use Simple Filing Categories.

A good home filing system does not require complicated codes, numerical systems, computer programs or indexes. Features like these cause extra work. Who needs more work?

Limit Your Filing Categories.

Fewer filing categories with very broad descriptions make filing and finding papers easier. Unlimited subjects can be seamlessly added to the system. Giving your system room to grow and change as your priorities and life changes.

Use Colorful Filing Labels.

Color and graphics are recognized quicker than words and create an intuitive filing system if used consistently.

File Papers Based on Retention Requirements.

Generally speaking we keep papers because they are vital documents, important records or everyday references. Most vital documents need to be kept forever, safe and secure. Records are kept based on individual lifestyle needs, usually IRS or legal requirements. References are kept for use and can be tossed at will.

  • Vital documents are filed safely in their own container. Ready to grab and go in an emergency.
  • Important records are out of the way. Carefully filed if you should need them.
  • References are located in strategic locations. Stored creatively where they are most often used.

File Papers in Convenient Locations.

A total filing solution in your home office may not be the best choice for your papers. For one simple reason, your home office is not in your everyday flow. Papers have to flow easily and effortlessly in and out of your life.

Are you ready to get your papers filed for peace of mind? Download my free home filing system blueprint today.

 
 
Time for Love

01. Goals and Gratitude.

Gratitude can best be expressed by caring for what you have and keeping good records. Good records provide all the details necessary to help you plan and achieve life's goals.

Read more: The Long-term Benefits of Getting Your Papers Organized

 
 
Reality Check Paperless Home Office

Do you dream of a paperless home office? Do you love the convenience of modern technology or maybe you just want to save a tree? If you think digitally storing your paper records will help you clear your clutter, you are not alone.

“Paper and digital technology each has certain capabilities, functions, and conveniences the other lacks.” ~The Myth of the Paperless Office.

Small, portable scanners and on-line scanning services are becoming more available. Going paperless is a hot and heated topic. Technology has simplified bill paying, bank services, information access, research and communication with family, friends, and colleagues.

Here's the thing. Technology is limited when it comes to accessibility.

More importantly, the IRS does require original paper documents to support computerized records. A scan is a computerized record.

"If you use a computerized system, you must be able to produce legible records of the information needed to determine your correct tax liability. In addition to your computerized records, you must keep proof of payment, receipts, and other documents to prove the amounts shown on your tax return." ~ IRS Publication 552

The reality is nine times out of ten, you are keeping a piece of paper to prove yourself to the IRS. So before you jump into your paperless home office consider the following:

  • There are a limited number of support records you need to satisfy the IRS and a smaller number of vital documents you must retain for personal and financial reasons. Would a digital copy of these items give you peace of mind?
  • A majority of people only need one file drawer to keep the IRS required three years of tax records. This same drawer would have plenty of room for important financial, health and home records. Would it be easier for you to scan receipts and digitally log the details required by the IRS? The other option is a quick note on the back of each receipt, placed it a yearly tax file.
  • Only those who run a home business would need an additional file drawer to store the six to ten years of recommended support documents. Will your bank and credit card company provide six to ten years of statements online? If not, how will you access these if requested by the IRS? What if you close your account? Or your account is canceled?
  • Technology doesn’t cure procrastination or fix a poor system. Good categories, action and maintenance, are still required. Do you currently have a categorizing system for filing your papers and are you actively maintaining your records?
  • You still need to know what papers to keep, why you should keep them and where you will find them. Do you know this information?

A digital system could work well for you if you answered yes to the majority of questions above. Even then don’t take technology for granted. We expect our digital records to remain accessible for years. Realistically technology has a number of hazards that do not exist in a good old-fashion filing system. Relying on hardware, software, online applications and third-party practices create conditions outside of your control. Including…

  • Privacy issues.
  • Records unavailable due company closures or poor management.
  • Web service outages or unavailable access.
  • Computer start-up issues and crashes.
  • Computer viruses and spyware.
    If you have file-sharing software on your computer, beware. All the information on your hard drive is at risk.
  • Corrupt digital media.
  • Hardware technical problems.
  • Software bugs and crashes.
  • Outdated technology.
    Technology changes daily. Will your records be converted, accessible and available in three to six to ten years?

I ask you this; would it be more convenient, more efficient and safer to scan paper records than it would be to create a good system for filing them? For me, no. Your lifestyle and needs may draw you to a different conclusion. There are numbers of “right” ways to get something done. Going completely paperless may not work for you. Be open-minded. Be creative. Find a solution that works for you and share it here.

 
 
How to Get Your Papers Organized - Home Filing System

If you're tired of the piles, setting up an effective home filing system can be easy. Start by keeping these three simple things in mind...

01. Familiarize

Paper clutter is different from most other clutter, because those scraps represent your responsibilities. Many documents and records are important and must be safely filed for years. Eliminate some of the fear associated with tossing papers by knowing what records and documents are vital. Get to know your keepers.

Take some time right now to discover how to eliminate the biggest paper related challenge. Take action, perform regular maintenance and keep your papers organized by deciding what papers are most important to you.

02. Categorize

If a filing system is not properly coded or requires an index, locating or recovering records becomes maddening. Filing your papers and personal information under consistent, simple categories will help you find what you need. Consistency is a major factor in home filing system success. Consistently applied words, colors and graphics makes filing your piles simple. Learn how to use color and graphics to make your home filing system consistent and unforgettable.

03. Stylize

A home filing system can be set up using a variety of filing techniques. Will they be organized chronologically, alphabetically, numerically, by subject or by action? There are unique benefits to each of these filing techniques.

04. Accessorize

Setting up a functional home filing system requires some basic filing tools. While the obvious are file folder, hanging files, labels and file boxes or cabinets there are some creative solutions you can utilize. A basic drawer of the correct width and height can be modified to for your filing needs.

05. Containerize

A paper management system will fail if drawers are too clogged or not conveniently located to make your records easily available. Keep like papers together.  
Store them for when you will use (or need) them. A big metal filing cabinet is not the only filing solution. Learn how to containerize your papers for an organized life.

PS. Motivation is another key factor in getting and staying organized. Getting your documents organized will give you more than just a clutter-free counter-top. More time and peace-of-mind topped my list. I discovered 9 reasons to put "Organize Papers" on my "To Do" list. Maybe you can add a few more. Read The Long-term Benefits of Getting Your Papers Organized.

 
 

What Brings You Joy?®

home filing system color category

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson

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