One of our most requested services, is for help with paper issues - to help people sort out their home-offices and offices. Its called paper overload and people have a real issue with how to manage it effectively.
Let’s face it, these days the amount of paper that comes into the home or office is incredible, amazing and often completely useless! You don’t need us to tell you how frustrating, time-consuming and annoying paper-overload can be. We see it all the time.
So here are a few tips. We’ll keep them brief because digital information is just as overwhelming these days as paper, and we just want you to get this, fast!
- Nip the paper monster in the bud. Buy a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker and use it, now!
- Keep some masking tape, scissors, highlighter, pen and a CD-style marker next to your office recycling bin. Hide these from the kids. Get a clear plastic folder, and label each of 12 pages with the months of the financial year.
- Mark unwanted mail ‘not known at this address’ or for emails, ‘please unsubscribe’ or whatever you want, and re-post. Put them by the door, ready for your next trip to the shop. The masking tape is for the plastic-coated mags. If you do want the content, ask them to email you the digital version (are you REALLY going to read that?).
- OK. We’re inside the door. Remember that recycling bin? Open every letter and toss the envelopes. Now.
- Then toss the glossy, ‘does anyone EVER read this’ printed stuff (unless it’s a new policy or something and you think you really can’t get it online).
- Smooth out the remaining A4 mail you opened - that you need to keep. Toss the extra pages that you’re never going to look at. The ‘fillers’.
- Getting thin now? Grab the pen or highlighter, circle the ‘due by’ date and amount of any bill or notice.
- File the paper you can get rid of, NOW. (OK. So in a perfect world, your recycling, stationery stash and filing tray are in the same room, yes?).
- File bills in the BILLS TO PAY FILE or schedule to be paid on the due date on your bank internet banking site - then file in your receipts folder. Then you'll never have to worry if its been paid. (Ensure there are enough funds to cover this payment).
- Or, if you are near your computer, diarise the company, due date and amount in your calendar with a 3 day reminder.
- Better yet, ask your providers to send the bill electronically. Set up an automatic payment plan and forget them. This will take half an hour to direct debit all of your utilities…time truly well spent! Create a folder in your documents to file the bills for the Tax man.
- As for all the other paperwork, truly, get to love your calendar – electronic or otherwise. Note all relevant info (names, businesses, dates, phone numbers, emails or whatever) either on you paper calendar or in your digital best friend. Get to know a system…it’s the only way.
- Beware of ‘inboxes’. They are greedy collectors of un-dealt-with paperwork that WILL come back to haunt you (usually more than once).
- Develop a system and use it daily. You will become quicker and more satisfied with it in time. Be conscious of ‘how’ you manage your system and look for improvement. Be kind to yourself.
Please, let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment. And don't forget our instantly downloadable 'Get Organised in Your Office' eBook from our Online Store. Lots of ideas in there for paper control! Any ideas? Strategies that you use? Remember, there are visitors to our blog that could use your experience and thoughts.
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