Get Rid of Bunch of Papers is difficult for a lot of people, including myself. Even when I unclutter my workplace, there are still pieces of papers on my desk with ideas I wrote down, email addresses I scribbled on a post-it, list of things to buy at the grocery store, package to leave at the post office and Oh! this magazine I will probably have time to go through later...
How can there still be so much paper around me? I do use internet and technology, wasn't that suppose to make it all go away?
I guess I like paper and writing things down. I like to think that the gesture of writing helps me remember something of what is written. I like to think the gesture of writing makes ideas more authentic, more true to oneself. And I like ticking things off a list with my favorite purple marker.
So as I intend to continue to write things down, intend to sill enjoy decoupage and drawing, I did a little research to find a simple, non time consuming, way to keep it all organized and neat, and it works:
1) Create a “stand by zone”
That’s what hanging folders are, “stand by zones”. No document should stay in there for more than 3 months.
As soon as you’re done with something from one of your hanging folders, dispose of it: put it in the recycling bin, trash or your filing cabinet. Places in the “stand by zones” are vey expensive, no document should stay there for long!
To make sure you won’t forget anything, write down on your wall calendar/agenda what you have to do – and be realistic when you pick an end date!
4) Use Talking Names
Find evocative names for each of your hanging folders: Fall Art Show, Missions, Team Meetings... Put aside too general formulas like “to do” or “urgent” as they tend to swallow and obliterate your important stuff. Show some humour instead of technocracy and replace the usual “bills” by “pay me!” or “call back” by “Talk to me!”, etc...
5) Constantly Modify
Change as often as you need the name of your hanging folders so they always reflect your present. Keep enough labels in your last folder so they are always handy:)
6) Be Coherent
If certain types of documents never seem to find a place in your hanging folders, create a new one (ex: “Children” to include school reunions, mailing list of parents... or “Summer Trip” to include brochures, invitations, schedules...) Don’t forget though this is a “stand by” zone so nothing should stay in there more than 3 months.
7) Use it All
Write/glue/broach any useful info on the folder (name, address, tel numbers, appointments and any other important info related to it). When you take the folder out, you have anything you need before your eyes.
9) Empty is Good
When you’re done with something, take it out the “Stand By” zone without delay
. Whenever you see something obsolete when going through a file, dispose of it
. For each new “archive”, throw away an older one
. “Target Date” or “Maturity Date” is good to use on some of your folders, for instance when related to a specific project. Write the date down on your wall calendar/agenda as a reminder.
. Never let anything get more than 75% full or you may lose control! (wardrobe, file cabinet, folders...)
. If you can't live without using tiny pieces of papers of post-it to write down whatever, glue them in a little note book instead of putting them on your desk
. Celebrate each time you complete a task!
10) Make Time
Make an apointment with yourself each week and dedicate 10 to 15 minutes to going through your files.
So have fun with this and a wonderful day!