If you’re feeling like dealing with paper makes you want to tear your hair out, the good news is that there are simple things you can do to help. You don’t have to wait until your stacks of paper are about to topple over or let every available horizontal surface get covered in paper before you decide to develop some strategies for gaining control over paper. Here’s a few ways to get started:
Stop taking it. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with who have told me as we’re going through their mounds of papers that much of what they’ve been keeping they never wanted in the first place. Some of the culprits include junk mail, atm and grocery receipts, old bills, and more. The truth is, you don’t have to accept every piece of paper that’s foisted on you – when given a choice, if you don’t know what you’ll do with that paper when you get it back to your home or office, find a way to not collect it. Get off junk mail and catalog lists, decline receipts at the atm, leave the grocery receipts at the bottom of the bag and use the bag for recycling, and switch to electronic billing. Just by doing these quick actions you’ll likely get rid of tons of scraps of paper.
Break the sticky note addiction. One or two sticky notes on your desk or computer can be helpful reminders – maybe you keep frequently used phone numbers on one note, and a quick to-do item on another. But if your computer screen is framed by sticky notes, they start to become part of the background and lose all their utility. There’s no doubt that sticky notes can be helpful, but when you have a lot of them they stop being helpful and start creating their own special brand of neon-colored clutter. Plus, they are so easy to lose! Instead of writing everything on an endless series of stickies, try getting one small spiral-bound notebook, and write all of each day’s notes, ideas, and to-do’s in there. Make sure the notebook is small enough that it can travel with you wherever you go. That way, you’ll always be able to jot notes down, everything will be date-stamped, centralized, and easy to keep track of.
Go paperless. If you have lots of paper lying around, you may want to wave the proverbial magic wand and make it all just go away. With most things organizing and productivity related, I have to tell people that this just isn’t possible. However, with paper, it is! For virtually any task that you would normally need paper for, there are services and tools that can help you switch those tasks to a paperless version. As mentioned above, one obvious way to begin going paperless is to switch to electronic billing. If you have lots of receipts (both paper and electronic), you can use a service like Shoeboxed to scan them for you, and OfficeDrop will take your printed documents and convert them to searchable electronic versions. You can also get a personal scanner like the ones from the Neat Company and scan things on your own. Another method is to stop printing out documents whenever possible and instead read them on your desktop computer, iPad or other tablet, or even on your phone.
As with most things productivity and organizing related, there’s no one right way or one-size-fits-all method for managing paper, so don’t feel like you need to get it “right.” Just try a few different strategies, and see what works!
If you’re wondering how to implement these strategies, we’d be happy to chat with you. Contact us for a complimentary strategy session by going to http://www.customlivingsolutions.com/Apply
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