This is HUGE for me. I ask myself, ‘Why does our house love paper so much??!!!’. We just collect so much of it – receipts, children’s artwork, bills, bank statements, letters, cards, school forms….
So, let’s get started and take control of it. Grab a large pile of your most troublesome piles of paper, set your timer for 30 minutes and GO!
Have handy :
1. Daily/weekly planner or diary
2. To do list
3. Trash bag(s)
1. START AT THE TOP ie the very first piece of paper. The temptation is to flick through until you find something easy or more enjoyable to sort through – but that’s what leads to continuing paper mania. I learnt this technique from Robert Allen, in Getting Things Done.
2. DEAL WITH EVERY PIECE OF PAPER in 1 of these ways :
Throw away as much as possible. If in doubt, throw away. Many of it isn’t needed, won’t be referred to again, and/or is duplicated electronically.
Anything you can do in 5 minutes or less, just do straightaway, and then you can discard the paper related to it.
Anything that will take longer to do, add to your to-do list as a reminder (don’t leave the paper out as your reminder, a classic mistake!). Then FILE the paper related to the Action (only if you need to access information from it). I’m not a fan of tickler files – I just don’t check them regularly enough. I’d rather have a to-do list that is mobile, and I’ll file any paper related to that ‘to-do’ item, or keep it in an in-tray only if that action will be taken within the next few days.
If there’s someone else better suited to something and/or it really should be their responsibility, you can pass on the action to someone else. If you need to, add a reminder to follow up with them as a ‘to-do’ item on your to-do list.
And that’s it – on the next Paper Declutter Challenge, I’ll go into more detail on how to deal with various items of paper.