the Paperwork Nightmare
all of the paperwork flowing into our lives each
day, it's easy for it to get out-of-control. Forms,
memos, letters, catalogs, mail, flyers and advertising
offers are stacked in our in box. Leave that in
box for a day, and you've got yourself a paperwork
pile. Leave it untouched for a week or more, and
you've got yourself a paperwork nightmare!
a few simple ideas to help end the nightmare and get your
paperwork under control:
down the job of reducing your paperwork
into smaller pieces. Instead of trying to
organize ALL of your paperwork at once,
set a series of mini-goals instead. For
example, on Day 1, go through one pile;
on Day 2, go through your in box, and so
4 D's of Effective Paper Management
Over 80% of the paper most people have in their homes
and offices is either outdated or will have no further
use to them. There are only four things to do with a
piece of paper:
B) Delay it (File it in an action file or archive file)
C) Delegate it
D) Dump it
"Dump it" solution should not be taken lightly.
A large percentage of the papers in your office (except
for legal or tax related documents), especially the
ones in boxes that haven't been looked at for months
or years, can probably be trashed.
Mail Over the Wastebasket
you get your mail each day, quickly open it right over
the wastebasket or a recycling container. Immediately
get rid of mail you don't need, such as catalogs or
advertising offers you're not interested in, or unnecessary
inserts that come with your bills. Then, sort the rest
of your mail immediately, so it doesn't have a chance
to pile up.
you hate filing, it's probably because you are overwhelmed
with your current filing situation. If you only had
one or two pieces of paper to file, the task wouldn't
seem so daunting. Once your paperwork is organized and
an effective filing system is in place, filing will
become an easier task. That is, as long as you file
on a daily, or at minimum, a weekly basis.
than using snail mail, or interoffice mail that must
be delivered by a mail person, communicate and share
information via e-mail. And whatever you do, don't print
out every e-mail you get. Most e-mail messages and file
attachments can be stored on your computer, rather than
being printed out. But beware of virtual clutter! The
same rules for avoiding paper pileups apply to the files
on your computer; otherwise you're bound to have a digital
Don't Make Extra Copies
Many people make lots of extra copies of documents,
just in case they're needed later. Very often, this
results in huge volumes of paper that is never used.
Don't make copies until you truly need them. And don't
add to other peoples' paperwork nightmares, by them
copies of something they don't need.
Realistic with Your Reading Goals
people temporarily store magazine articles, newspaper
articles, newsletters, magazines and other reading material
in a "To Read" basket. Many people have more
papers in their "To Read" pile then they would
be able to read in a lifetime. Be realistic. When you
see the papers in your "To Read" basket flowing
over the rim, it's time to weed it out. By the way,
the only way you'll get through that "To Read"
basket is by scheduling a reading hour each day, and
using that hour to read.
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