For mystery shoppers who complete just a handful of assignments each month, it’s not too difficult to stay on top of the paperwork involved in mystery shopping and stay organized. But for mystery shoppers who complete several assignments per day or even per week, the paperwork can quickly become overwhelming. Consider the many pages of assignment requirements, a printout of the driving direction to the job site, the questionnaire or report, and your own notes you took during the assignment. For just one assignment, you can accumulate a rather large stack of papers.
With some persistence and daily effort, the busy mystery shopper can stay on top of the paperwork:
Print The Necessities. Busy mystery shoppers may automatically print out paperwork without taking a look at it. This can result in more paperwork being printed out than is necessary, and this paperwork can quickly mount up to a stack of paperwork the size of the phone book. Instead, take a look at the information you are printing first rather than automatically print it out. Determine if it’s something you can commit to memory or if it’s something that you legitimately need to print out in order to best complete the assignment.
Get Into A Daily Routine. Spend some time each evening before you turn in for the day going through your assignments and organizing your paperwork for that particular day. Print out the pages you need for the following day and organize the pages for each assignment together with a paper clip or binder clip.
For assignments you already completed that day, take a few minutes to file your paperwork away in a “to be paid” file folder or some other filing system that works for you.
Create A Filing System. There is not standard filing system that works for all mystery shoppers. But the fact is that you will generate a lot of paperwork as a mystery shopper. Some paperwork you only need to keep until you get paid on the assignment. Other paperwork you will want to keep for a full seven years, in conjunction with the IRS’s suggested time frame for keeping tax-related paperwork. The most efficient filing system for a busy mystery shopper will take into account both the temporary and permanent filing needs you have.
Consider a filing system with hanging folders with dividers for “Assignments To Be Done”, “Completed Assignments To Be Paid”, and “Paid Assignments.” Each day, keep up with your filing system and move paperwork as the assignment progresses from one category to the next. You can remove paperwork from the file as it becomes unnecessary with each stage.
Each mystery shopper will develop a slightly different and unique filing system that works for him or her, based on work and organizational preferences as well as the workload involved. When you keep on top of your paperwork on a regular basis, doing a little each day, you will be able to better manage the paperwork and stay organized.