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Ending the Paperwork Nightmare
by Maria Gracia
With all of the paperwork flowing into our lives day
after 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 untouched 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!
Here are a few simple ideas to help end the nightmare and get all of
your paperwork under control:
BREAK IT DOWN
Break 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, Day 1, go through one pile; Day 2, go
through your In-Box, and so on.
THE 4 D'S OF EFFECTIVE PAPER MANAGEMENT
Over 80% of the paper most people have in their homes and offices is
either out-of-date or will be of no further use to them. There are only 4
things to do with a piece of paper:
A) Do it
B) Delay it (File it in an action file or archive file)
C) Delegate it
D) Dump it
The 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 years or
months, can probably be trashed.
OPEN MAIL OVER THE WASTEBASKET
When you get your mail each day, quickly open it right over the
wastebasket, or 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.
FILE EVERY DAY
If you hate filing, I'm guessing that one of the primary reasons is
because you are overwhelmed with your current filing situation. If you
only had 1 or 2 pieces of paper to file, you likely wouldn't see the task
as 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 the bare minimum, a weekly basis.
Rather 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 single e-mail you get. Most e-
mail, and file attachments can be stored on your computer, rather than
being printed out. Just 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 document nightmare.
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 tons of copies, that
never get 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.
BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR READING GOALS
Many people temporarily store magazine articles, newspaper articles,
newsletters, magazines and other reading material in a To Read
basket. Unfortunately, for most people, there's generally 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 when the time rolls around.
By Maria Gracia - Get Organized Now!™
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