Do you feel like you’re buried under a mound of paper by the end of the day? If so, join the crowd. According to the Smead Corporation, which manufactures filing systems and records management products , the average office in the US spits out more than 45 paper missives each day – adding up to a whopping 1300 sheets of paper each month. Where does it all go?
Good chance that where that paper is “going” now is on top of your desk. And in the hutch over your desk.. and next to the printer…And, Oh no! The cat just jumped up on your filing cabinet and knocked a big pile of papers onto the floor.
What can you do to put an end to the clutter when paper seems to clone itself when you’re not looking? Here are several suggestions:
1) Start with a plan
Sort through and categorize the papers on your desk. Consider which you’ll need close at hand, which you need to save only for archival value and what you can read and toss. Give each of those categories of paper a “home.” Make a list of your categories if necessary so you remember whether proposal samples get filed under “Samples” or under “Proposals“. Store that list on your computer – and resist the temptation to print it out!
2) Start with the filling cabinet, not the desk
The rationale for that is simple. If you don’t have an orderly system for filing papers – and room in your filing cabinet to put those files – you’ll never get your desk cleaned. Toss out old files and review your overall system. Set up your filing system so files you need regularly are near at hand. Consider color-coding to group similar files together and make them easily identifiable. Move files you don’t need often to an out-of-the way location.
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