Make a paper pile disappear in 5 actions
This week was awesome! I had a great birthday celebration with my family and Forward finally got released into the universe. The pre-release of Forward included a group of readers who critiqued the e-book and gave me feedback.
My target audience for Forward is special needs parents coming to terms with a new lifestyle. But the feedback that I’m getting says it’s just plain helpful. For anyone–like our friend who wants to buy it for his daughters. Well, okay that works. In my typical fashion of sharing good things, I’m highlighting some tips that people found helpful from the e-book.
In step 2 of Forward, I talk about handling information overload. This necessary evil is the never-ending stream of paperwork that you don’t expect when you’re struggling to make sense of a special needs lifestyle. But I think this advice works in anyone’s life when papers didn’t find a home and start to resemble a small piece of furniture or a new member of the family.
Here are 5 quick actions to turn a pile of papers into no pile at all
1) Gather documents
If there are multiple piles in lots of places, bring it all together in one place so you can start to make it all disappear.
2) Sort paperwork
Set up categories by placing like with like, tossing what you no longer need as you go. Then, get some simple supplies–file folders, hanging folders & tabs, and a pen or pencil and decide where you will file the folders when done. Whatever you do, don’t run out and buy an expensive filing system. Keep it simple by using what you have on hand or getting the basics listed above.
3) Make a category tab
Write a title for each category that you created from step 2. Insert the category tab into the hanging file edge at the top. Put all the categories in alphabetical order; now you’re ready to file.
4) Review each piece of paper
Write a title for each folder. Group as much as possible so you don’t have a lot of folders with one item. Put the new file into one of the relevant hanging folders categories.
5) Continue working
Repeat steps 2-4 in 20 minute blocks until the pile is gone.
Now, you can use the free time (precious time you spent giving the pile the stink-eye) to do something useful like eating ice cream or going for a walk.
If you’re wondering how to keep the piles from growing again, try this idea: DON’T. Plan to touch papers once. When something comes in the mail, file it away if it’s REALLY necessary. If not, trash it. If it’s something that needs more attention, whip out your phone and put the deadline on your calendar. Set a reminder a few days in advance to give yourself some time to get the item complete. Put the paper away once the reminder is set.
Easy, Peasy, Lemon, Squeezy as my five-year old likes to say!
Paper overload is something that slowly creeps up out of nowhere until one day the pile is out of control. What’s exciting about paperwork? Absolutely nothing. But, if you have been a victim of a paper attack and no longer want to be, try this system and I’m sure you’ll see your pile disappear in no time at all.