Taming the Paper Monster

Paper sometimes takes over our lives and is often the worst thing to get organized. Below are a few tips on how to tame that paper beast in your home or office.

Utilize your filing system effectively. Figure out what system will work best for you – client files versus project files, color coding, and so on. Once you’ve worked out your system, make sure to use it. File all relevant information in the right file. It’s also helpful to attach blank sheets of paper to the inside right back flap of file folders. Then, you can take notes on applicable conversations, memos, and meetings right where you need them.

Employ a task list for projects. Think through the project step by step. Then, create a list for all these steps, or tasks, to help you get them completed. Keep your task list stapled to the inside front cover of your project file. That way you can refer to the list whenever you work on that project.

Avoid paper piles. There are normally two things that happen to information buried in a paper pile – either it is forgotten or it can’t be found when you need it. Paper piles are like the plague – they should be avoided at all costs. When you acquire a piece of paper, you should do one of three things: file it, write the information down elsewhere (such as in your scheduler) and toss it, or simply toss it.

Avoid always putting information on sticky notes and other tiny pieces of paper: If you need to write something down, put it on your Master Plan or on your to-do list. While it’s okay to use a reminder such as a sticky note every once in a while, using such notes all the time will make them less obvious and-as a result-less helpful.

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