Are you wondering where that piece of paper is that you are looking for? You are sure it’s on your work desk. But where? Are your papers/documents filed where you can find them easily? Or, are they in lots of piles right now on your desk?
There are two ways of thinking about this. Filing vs. Piling. You either File or you Pile. ‘Pilers’ will say that they know just where everything is. (I’d be surprised if they did). Piles are not a method of organization. Sometimes, I let papers cover my desktop. When I notice this happening, I immediately sort through them and put them where they belong. My office work becomes much more stream-lined and I get more accomplished.
If you’d like to find an important document quickly, File it! Otherwise, you will shuffle through those piles and make more of a mess.
Do you think that keeping papers filed is complex & finding them takes too long? It shouldn’t. Once you’ve got everything filed into a filing cabinet, or moveable filing box, you will save time and increase your productivity.
Below, I’ve listed Seven Simple Steps to ‘Stop Piling and Start Filing’ your papers.
- Decrease the Paper – Keep the incoming papers to a minimum and unsubscribe from magazines, catalogs and newsletters you don’t need and never look at.
- Use a Desk – Top File Sorter – As soon as inbound papers such as bills, notices, statements, etc.. arrive, organize them by category into a desk-top file sorter. Stacking papers on top of one another in an inbox can lead to piles. (See cluttered desk image above)
- Throw it Out if in Doubt – (Recycle is really what I mean) Of all the papers you keep, you most likely need only 99% of them. If this information is available on-line or elsewhere, there’s no need to keep it. You can always look it up.
- Shred and Recycle – Shred those important documents that contain pertinent personal information, and recycle the rest.
- Photograph Reference Items – If you are holding onto an item for reference, use your smartphone/iPhone/digital camera to take a photo of these documents, printer cartridges, used up pens, etc… Recycling these items will get rid of some of your desk clutter.
- Get a Scanner – Your printer may already have a scanner as one of its features. If not, purchase a small portable scanner for your desktop, or even use your iPhone for scanning. Save these documents as PDF’s on your computer or laptop.
- Paper Management – Process your papers regularly, or they will ultimately become piles again; sooner than you think! Schedule a consistent time, such as every Friday at 9:00 AM for 30 minutes to do your filing.
Do you File or Pile your papers?
NOTE: I will be teaching a ‘Free Yourself from Paper Clutter’ class on Thursday, November 5th at 7:00 pm, via Arlington Community Education at the Arlington High School at 869 Massachusetts Avenue.