Stay on top of your paper with the right tools and routines.
It’s easy for papers to pile up faster than you can say “to be filed later.” Here are three tips for stemming the tide before it overwhelms you.
1. Keep your paper management supplies—your file folders, your labels, your label-maker—close by to where you actually work on your paper. That makes it easy for you to create files immediately right as you’re working on your documents, instead of having to create many files later to organize the pile building on your desk. This helps you stay organized right as you are in the middle of a task, when it’s easiest to stay on top of your projects.
2. Filing won’t happen on its own. Make sure that you schedule time to process your paper. You might want to put some time during your administrative block to work on processing what is in your hot files, or to go through what is in your administrative or your archive files.
3. Just like with your workspace, weed through and prune your files every six months (maybe even more frequently if you process a lot of paper). In file drawers things can quickly become dormant and outdated. That’s why it’s important to regularly go through those things and weed out what you don’t need.