Wednesday, February 18, 2009

take control of your paper

One of the most popular questions I get from blog readers is: How do I control all the paper?!

So, the first thing you have to do is decide to make some decisions. I like using a timer because I'm naturally competitive (anyone relate?) and that inspires me to take action, and quickly too!

Before you start, gather the following items:

1. a timer
2. bag or bin for recycling/trash
3. black sharpie
4. notebook and/or planner
5. hanging files/manila folders

Now you're set!

There are only four actions you're allowed to do once you've scanned each piece of paper. Don't take longer than 30 seconds to scan the page.

1. Dump it
Throw it in the bin. The more ruthless you are, the less you have to file! Win-win!

If you only need one piece of information, write it down in your notebook and throw the piece of paper away. Some of you are hyperventilating at this point - that's okay ;)

2. Delegate it
If someone else has to attend to it write the action on the paper itself or on a post-it note stuck on the page and put it in a separate pile.

3. File it
Please do yourself a favor and only put paper in this pile if you ABSOLUTELY need to reference it. Just a quick stat for you - only 20% of filed papers are ever referenced again.

Use your hanging files and folders for different categories.

4. Do it
Here I apply the two-minute rule. If you can do it in two minutes or less, do it right there and then. When I say "do it", I mean either action it or schedule it to action later.

For example, if you're working through your papers at
10pm and need to make an appointment, you can't call right there and then, so write it on tomorrow's to-do list. That's within two minutes and it counts.

There you have it - the only four things to do with paper. If you stick to making decisions, your paper will be beautifully organized in no time at all. Now all you have to do is keep a regular "date" with the paper
s.

For more organizing information, visit my website: www.andreadekker.com

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