Who Piles? Other options. . .
Have you ever noticed that some people have piles all over their office and others do not? If you do not organize by piling, you might be viewing those piles with curiosity, or disgust or amazement. Why would anyone want to be surrounded by piles, especially “dysfunctional” piles, or have piles all over the floor?
After many rounds of pile busting for my clients, I have learned that many ‘pilers’ share certain characteristics:
- they are visually oriented and worry that if papers are out of sight, they will be out of mind;
- they prefer to organize horizontally; instead of vertically (traditional filing);
- they have difficulty throwing papers away because they are afraid they will either make a mistake or miss an opportunity;
- they have difficulty making decisions because they tend to try to consider all the possibilities for use of the papers;
- they are easily overwhelmed by paper; once they get even a little behind on paper management they shut down and stop dealing with it;
- they really do not know how set up more effective systems for effectively dealing with paper.
What to do? Of course, one option is to continue using piles, but make sure they are functional piles-ones that contain papers pertaining to just one subject or project.
Other options to avoid piling:
—Make a commitment to MAKE A DECISION about what to do with paper the first time you touch it. 1) Is it an action item? 2) Should it be filed? 3) Should it be routed to someone else? 4) Is it trash? 5) Is it something to read? 6) Or, is it something you are undecided about? Create easy to reach places for each of those types of items. Then, put it in the appropriate place.
—Make a commitment to STOP SETTING PAPER ASIDE for any reason.
—Use a step sorter on your desk to make files visible. Have those files contain active projects or documents and forms you use frequently. Be sure to label the files in dark ink. Or, better yet, use a label maker (available at office supply stores for about $50).
—Use an open filing cabinet (available on wheels), desktop filing box, or crate so that you can continue to enjoy a horizontal format, but have the benefits of a vertical filing system.