Information management starts at home

I was planning to blog about what I actually do when helping clients with Information Management (IM), but thought it more useful to make a start with my own working life.

Information management is about gathering, analysing, communicating and storing relevant information and ensuring access to same – this is common to all organisations, including micros.

Moving into a new office is proving to be a perfect chance to evaluate my own IM.

Like all IM systems which are not maintained (have a look at Abelone’s blog entry about her invoices and receipts!) some of mine had ground to a halt, simply because I have been busy and done other things which were immediately pressing, more interesting …. As a result, I had heaps (chaos) instead of order. Partly the reason is that I had run out of space – good IM needs both time and storage space!

So now it is time for action! As I move each new folder/ring binder, set of records, I am sorting through each, discarding obsolete material and ensuring that I have electronic back up on cds. These should ideally be stored away from the premises (part of disaster management), but by keeping a set in the cellar I reckon I am fairly well covered.

I have also done a thorough removal of obsolete files from my pc, done a defrag, and generally checked the electronic folders for relevant contents and proper identification. It is a good feeling to have things in order!

Now I have to make sure that I set aside time for routine IM. Sorting through the information kept for business reasons is important. There are some records which have to be retained, accounts for instance, but lots of stuff can be discarded after some time.

It is important to date each new document as it is received. This not only helps to keep the information flow moving, but is really helpful to ensure that the contents are dealt with in time. At the same time it could be relevant to note down a sensible ‘discard by’ date.

And new information , be it projects, accounts, good articles, computer tips…etc. will of course be handled according to good IM practice, at least that is the plan.