Tag Archive: paper overload

When there’s no clear plan for maximizing productivity, so many things can snatch away your precious time.  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share info with you on those productivity killers.  Each of these will kill your productivity if you let it.  No matter how much any of them may be present in your environment, there are solutions to conquering these productivity killers.

Clutter is a big culprit when it comes to both home and office spaces.  It shows up in the form of paper, email and things to do.  Paper is the#1 culprit in homes and offices and it’s necessary to keep it under control.

Keep a handle on what comes into your inbox every day.  There are three stages for the paper you see every day: it comes in, you’re working on it, or it’s going out.  Go through your incoming items every day and determine what needs to happen to each thing.  Here, the 3 Ds apply: Discard, Delegate, Do it Now.  Discard it if it’s irrelevant , if you don’t need it any longer or if you can get it again.  Throwing away something that you don’t need is one of the bets things that you can do.  It’s a small step, but keeps the clutter away.  If you come across something that someone else can do, then delegate it, but be sure you give it to the right person with clear instruction and a completion date.  If you decide that it’s something that you need to do, then place it on your to-do list or into your calendar if it’s going to take longer than 15 minutes to complete.  Be sure to prioritize what you add to your list and be sure to schedule enough time to do each.

Paper can take over in just a short time and have you confused as to which way to go and what to do next.  this, needless to say, is not productive at all.  If you keep the paper under control, you can keep control over your inbox, how you’re spending your time and you’ll be more productive.

Paper accumulates so quickly.  Think about how many pieces of paper you encounter on a daily basis–the flyer from the local coffee shop or your child’s school, receipts from the day, the shopping list and the day’s mail.

This is the stuff that clutters our lives and our minds.  Create a place for personal and business papers, keeping what you use most readily available.   For example, bills up front and tax files in the back or the bottom drawer.  Keep your debit and credit card receipts until your statements come; reconcile the transactions, shred the receipts and file the statements.  Set a regular time for archiving and purging your files.  Usually once a year works pretty well.  Determine how long you will keep particular things and remember that some things you have to keep for a specified number of years depending upon what they are.  Check with your accountant for guidelines.

How much mail do you have stacked on the flat surfaces of your home or office right now?  The usual landing pads are your entry way table, kitchen counter and dining room table.  If you’ve got that stack of mail, you’re not by yourself.

This tends to be a common issue at home and at work.  To remedy the problem, sort the mail as soon as you get your hands on it, and do it over the trash can.  Toss the junk mail and once you’re done, file the bills and statements for payment and place your magazines, catalogs and other items in the designated spot.  Don’t let it hit a flat surface!

So many of us have an overload of paper and magazines and catalogs are a good part of that.  If your paper overload consists of magazines, look at the number of catalogs that you get and the number of magazine subscriptions that you have.  Do you really need all of them?  Do you read all of them?  If there are too many, it’s time to scale back.  Don’t renew the subscriptions for the publications that you don’t read or that you aren’t getting value from and don’t add anything new no matter how tempting it is.  When yo consider subscribing to another publication, think about it first.  Are you going to read it? What value does it bring to you?  Why are you subscribing?

Next choose the perfectly sized container for your magazines and catalogs and put them in it when they arrive.  Don’t let them sit too long.  Set a reasonable time period for reading them.  Maybe you choose to read them by the time the next issue arrives, or maybe you cut the articles you want to read out of the magazine and place it in a reading file.  If a catalog has something that you’re interested in, cut it out along with any ordering information that you need.

Once you’ve read the magazines and catalogs, save any articles or items that you want by filing or scanning them.  If you save a lot of articles, file them in a binder organized by type or topic.  Remember to be environmentally friendly and recycle the rest of the publication.

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