For those of you who already have the good habit of corralling paper daily, keep up the good work! Being conscious of the daily flow of paper and deliberately controlling its flow is the only way to win the war on paper.
A casual approach to paper is a guarantee that you’ll create your own personal paper nightmare. Paper is relentless in its flow into your space. You need to be relentless in your handling of it.
Do it daily! It really only takes minutes! Minutes of agony are better than hours and hours of excavation that will be required if you procrastinate and let paper accumulate.
Here’s what I mean by PROCESS PAPER DAILY:
1. Make sure paper follows a specific route. For example, papers may arrive from a mailbox or kids backpacks to all many different locations in your house. Teach family members that papers either go to their space to be dealt with (like homework or the spouses business papers) or they should end up on the kitchen counter to be sorted and deliberately distributed to places where they will be acted on, stored or referenced, like the desk, filing cabinet or home office. Paper should not float from room to room. It will take over if you let it stray from a defined route.
2. Sort incoming papers into categories. I recommend these categories: trash; refer out to someone else; action; filing; reading; holding for later reference or action; and possibilities of things to do, buy, etc.
3. Distribute papers by category to their appropriate locations. For example, trash goes to the recycling bin or trash can. Action papers are moved to the desk or countertop where action will take place. Filing is filed or stored in a filing tray until you have time to file. Reading is taken to the location where you do your reading, perhaps a basket on your desk or next to your sofa.
You’ll notice I don’t recommend that you complete all the tasks associated with those papers on a daily basis. That would take more time than you have every day. I am just recommending that you control the flow of paper coming in, sort it and distribute it to the place where it will be acted upon or stored. If you do that much daily, you will find your stress goes down and your productivity goes up.
© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie
“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at http://www.clutterclearingcommunity.com.