Create a New Paper Habit!

Have you had good intentions to process paper daily, as I recommended in an earlier news tip, but have not been able to make yourself do it? If that is the case, perhaps your old paper habits are still in place, running the show and resulting in a paper nightmare.

Just deciding to do things differently often doesn’t change behavior. Habits you aren’t even conscious of having keep old behaviors in place.

To change a habit you must:

* be conscious of what you are doing that’s causing you problems;
* decide what specific actions you will take to achieve better results;
* make a commitment to the new behavior; and
* do the new behavior for at least 21 days in a row.

Here is a hypothetical example of what you might do to change dysfunctional paper habits to more functional habits.

* When you watch what you would normally do with paper, you identify that
you dump paper on your desk every day without a second glance, creating
an overwhelming pile by the week’s end.
* You decide that instead of just dumping paper on your desk, you will spend
at least 5 minutes each day as soon as you get home sorting mail and other
papers into categories of trash/recycle, action, filing, and other, Monday
through Saturday. Sorting alone will keep paper under more control.
* You commit to spending at least 5 minutes at the end of each day sorting
paper and plan to document your progress by checking off each day on the
calendar.
* You spend 5 minutes each day for 21 days sorting paper.

Of course there is more to paper management than just sorting it, but if you focus on just one habit at a time, you’re more likely to be successful. Give it a try! Do 5 minutes of paper processing Monday through Saturday for 21 days. You’ll be amazed at the results!

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