Turn Those Piles into Files
You come in from a meeting and you are tired. You bring in the mail but don’t have time to mess with it right now. You are afraid if you file the paper away you will forget it. So, everything gets dumped on the desk or countertop.
Meanwhile, your desk or countertop becomes one big inbox with piles everywhere. Some paper has been there so long that it has actually stuck to the surface or has fallen behind the desk or is so buried that unless there is some trigger to dig for it, it is forgotten. The clutter is overwhelming and slows down your productivity.
See if some of these tips work for you:
When you bring in paper, do a quick triage. What is obviously trash or needs shredding? What needs action soon? What do you need to take some time over and ponder?
Have a trash can and shred box nearby and get those papers handled right away
Have a landing pad for all items needing action soon
Have a basket or bin for magazines or articles you want to read and ponder. When that basket gets full, acknowledge that you have more than you can handle and either set aside some time to read or dispose of some of the material
Have a folder or box for ads or upcoming workshops or events that you are considering
This should corral most of the paper but still very little has gone away.
Here comes the hard part:
Schedule regular times on your calendar to pay bills or check on bill pay. Then after paying, immediately file or get rid of paid bills
Weekly, at a scheduled time, take care of any receipts or invoices that need entering or filing. If possible, scan these items and get rid of the paper
Chose a couple of items you want to read and ponder and either look through them now or remove them to another location to read later. After reading them either dispose of them or file them
Schedule a time at least monthly to look through ads and coupons you have saved and toss any that have expired or that no longer interest you. Look over any upcoming events and see if some no longer appeal to you or have passed their due date. Dispose of all expired items.
Empty the trash can and the shred container
While you may never get your desk completely clear of paper, do realize that paper you keep has a purpose and when that purpose is completed, the paper should go somewhere else besides on your desk.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer