Paper, Paper Everywhere
We are entering a paperless era. Books and newspapers are giving way to e-readers and check writing is going the way of the dinosaur, but some of us are still drowning in a sea of paper. Time management books, blogs and articles are full of tips on managing paper and saving time. Solutions are not, however, one size fits all and if you are a scrambling through piles of paper to find things, it might be time to find the one that will work for you. Here are few ideas to try. The good news is you can’t lose them in a pile of paper!
File it or Recycle It
The blogger at idreamofclean.net recommends gathering all your paper in one place, and then begin filing or recycling, one stack at a time. She suggests starting with your most recent papers and working outward until you have completed your task. Have all your supplies handy: file folders, labels and a recycling bin. Don’t try to do it all at once and become overwhelmed. Instead, pace yourself so that you are making steady progress. Try to handle each paper once – file it or recycle it.
Do It for the Earth – and the Bottom Line
Another website, reduce.org shares the 3 E’s of paper reduction: Economical, Environmental and Efficient. They share some startling statistics:
- The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year.
- The costs of using paper in the office can run 13 to 31 times the cost of purchasing the paper in the first place!
Going electronic is a great way to reduce paper usage and avoid creating new stacks. Print as little as possible and scan what you can.
Keep it Simple
At zenhabits.net, they recommend keeping it as simple as possible. Using just plain manila folders and labels, create a file for each client, vendor and/or project. Try to keep it to one drawer, if possible and file it alphabetically. If you can limit yourself to one drawer, you can force yourself to recycle unnecessary files when the drawer gets full.
Let it Go
I was a teacher for many years and I recently got rid of about 10 boxes worth of files from my teaching days. I realized that, even if I go back to teaching, these old files were no longer useful because everything is online. I also realized that I was holding on to more than paper. By thinking about why I was holding onto my files, I was able to let them go.
Good luck tackling your stacks! If you have a great paper management tip, please share it.