Here are a few tips to control your paper at work and at home:
Deal with paper as you receive it. On a daily basis, go through your mail, and sort into the following files: recycle/trash/delete, to do, to file, to read and to delegate/refer.
Establish a place just for paperwork. Keep it accessible and free of clutter.
Make a holding file. Use it to store information when you are awaiting follow- up from someone.
Schedule a certain amount of time every day to keep up with your ever-growing paper piles. Set a time each day, without interruptions, to process.
Use a master list. Get rid of those small slips of paper and sticky notes that accumulate on your desk, in your car, on your computer, and add all information to your master list. Review it daily.
Think about it. As you go through your day, really think about the way you do things and ask yourself if there is a better way.
Utilize lists. Keep running lists in your planner or in a notebook of the following: gift ideas, i.d. numbers, books to read, clothing needs, web sites to review, general ideas, etc.
To reduce paper piles, walk straight from the mail box to the trash can or recycling bin. Dispose of the junk mail. Opening it wastes time. Just pitch it in.
Set up a file or basket for each member of your household. Sort mail, school papers to sign, reading materials and even notes to each other.
Allow newspapers to remain in the house only for a specific number of days. At the end of that period (one to six days), recycle them, read or not.
If you must, tear interesting articles out of magazines to read later. Put them in a “to read” file or basket. Dispose of the bulky magazine in the recycle bin.
Make a home for any piece of paper that doesn’t have one. Avoiding piles means making a decision, NOW, on each piece of paper.
Set up the simplest filing system possible. Use broad categories and you’ll be more likely to file. Buy a portable file box so you can file while watching TV.
Post appropriate information where you need it. Hang a stain removal guide in your laundry room. Tape instruction manuals to appliances and electronics.
Place mail order catalogs in a reading basket near a cozy chair. Keep only the ones you truly enjoy.
Make a “hold” file for sports schedules, tickets to future events and department/specialty store coupons you might want. Use this file for anything you will need at a future date. Weed it out monthly.