Beating Information Overload with Paper Tiger Online

As an information organizer, editor, and indexer, I’m always looking for new tools to help manage information. The recent release of Paper Tiger Online helped me reorganize my business files.

I’ve long used a paper-based numeric filing system for some files, so I already knew the advantages: multiple entry points to access files and the ability to set up folders in advance.

Paper Tiger Online offers these advantages, and others as well:

  • Searching and sorting. These are important features that will save you time. A paper-based system is limited to scanning the index, which often is not in alphabetical order. This is fine for small files, but becomes awkward and slow for large ones.
  • Keywords. Although some keywords can be used in a paper-based system, it’s easier to use more in Paper Tiger Online. This improves search results and makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
  • Notes for additional information
  • Categories to group files
  • Ease of changing, updating, and reorganizing information
  • Ability to print indexes sorted by item number or by item name. These are handy for quick reference, and they can easily be reprinted when files are updated.
  • Access from anywhere with an Internet connection

My business files contain financial information, editing and indexing projects for clients, presentations on beating information overload, reports on getting organized for taxes and on beating information overload, other writing projects, other information specific to my Info Grooming business, and general business information. Here’s how I reorganized them with Paper Tiger Online:

  • One item for each client. The notes hold the titles of specific projects and the years they were completed. If I’m working on a project for the client, the item is also assigned the category Current Projects.
  • One item for each major information product (for example, Beat Information Overload the 5F Way)
  • One item for my articles published at Ezine Articles,  one for other publications, and one for presentations. As my publications and presentations increase, I’ll add more items.
  • Items for financial information, including tax information, bank information and statements (one item for each account), annual income, and annual expenses. The latter are named Finances—2011—Income and Finances—2011—Expenses, so that they file together when sorted by name.
  • Other items specific to my business: activity reports, affiliate accounts, legal issues, plans and goals, service agreements, and web presence (for keeping track of web design decisions, keywords, statistics, etc.)
  • Items for general business information, including articles from magazines, printouts of web pages, etc.

The online video for Paper Tiger Online made it easy to get started, and setting up the files went quickly. It’s also been easy to make changes to fine-tune the system, such as changing item names and adding keywords.

I have many more ideas for using Paper Tiger Online:

  • Database for writing and product ideas. I currently use a spreadsheet for this, but Paper Tiger Online would provide more flexibility and make it possible to access this file from anywhere.
  • Conversion of my paper-based numeric systems to Paper Tiger Online. These include files for organizations that I belong to and for textile information (knitting, sewing, weaving, hand spinning, etc.).
  • Database for sewing and knitting patterns
  • Database for yarns and fibers in my “stash”
  • Database for favorite recipes and for recipes to try. The locations will be the cookbooks or other recipe sources, and keywords will include main ingredients, so I can find recipes that use specific ingredients.

These ideas are just the start. I look forward to exploring further uses for Paper Tiger Online.

Would an online filing system work for you? Add a comment, and let me know your opinion.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Cathy Demers January 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I like that you give examples of how you actually use Paper Tiger Online to help you run your business. While their website talks about really big companies (like CocaCola and IBM) I can see how it would be useful to small business owners as well.

    I’ve been a bit resistant to move away from PC based file storage to “cloud” based online storage but after my 2nd computer failure recently, and lots of travel in my future, tools like this should make the transition much easier.

    Thanks for the great information, Jane!
    Cathy Demers
    http://www.BusinessSuccessCafe.com

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