Paper Piles: Functional or Dysfunctional?

Are you a paper piler? Most of us have at least a paper pile or two. Believe it or not a pile of papers is more functional than paper scattered over any available flat surface. The energy of a paper pile is MUCH calmer and less distracting that floating papers!

But, do you manage papers by piling? In other words, you are not really a filer of papers, you prefer to pile them. If that is the case, you are what I call a “horizontal filer.” Most people who pile site “out of sight is out of mind” as a primary reason for their piling preference. Papers that are filed out of sight might as well have been tossed in the trash. They are totally off the radar!

If you’re going to pile, I have several suggestions for creating functional piles (piles that help you stay organized) instead of dysfunctional piles (anxiety-provoking chaotic collections of papers).

  • Give each pile one identity, e.g. bills to be paid, papers to file, current income taxes, current projects, insurance.
  • Avoid mixing categories within a pile. A functional pile might be called “insurance.” In it you could put papers relating to life, home, business, disability, etc. insurance. However, it would become a dysfunctional pile if you added real estate and business incorporation papers to the insurance papers.
  • Separate piles that hold papers you must take action on from piles that hold papers for reference. Keep the action piles close to where you will take action.
  • Keep piles neat with all pages going in the same direction, specifically avoiding diagonally placed papers. Despite a common myth, neat piles do not indicate an inclination to anal retention or obsessive compulsive disorder. Neat piles have a more positive energy than disheveled stacks of papers. When papers are diagonally placed they make energies spin and create an out of control, chaotic energy. Since all piles of paper can have an annoying negative energy because they usually represent work that must be done or work that hasn’t been done, why not at least make the energy of the pile as calm as possible by making it neat?

Piling can be an effective organizing process if you create functional piles. Upgrade your piles and you will upgrade your productivity!

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