Organizing paper: Dos and don’ts

Each year the US postal service delivers 200 billion pieces of mail. Another 2 trillion pieces of paper are generated in offices. That’s a lot of paper that each of us has to deal with!

If you are not managing your paper effectively, it is costing you time and money. Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to keep on top of the zillion pieces of paper you must handle each year.

DON’T throw your mail, unexamined, onto the kitchen table, saying you will deal with it “later”.

DO take 60 seconds to toss the junk mail and separate out the important stuff.

DON’T stuff your file cabinets so full that you need a crow bar every time you want to remove a
piece of paper.

DO leave 1″-2″ of space in each drawer so that you can easily grab files and to drop papers into

DON’T use your in-box as a dumping ground.

DO create a system to handle the papers that you don’t have time to work on right now.

DON’T use paper-storage products that don’t work for you or that you don’t like. If you hate files,
there are many alternatives to them.

DO get products that you love and that work well. Choose pretty binders, nice new folders, good-
quality attractive filing cabinets. If you like it, you will use it!

DON’T put away a piece of paper before you have determined if there is an action you need to
take regarding it.

DO set up a date-based system to ensure that you fully process a piece of paper before it’s put
away and forgotten.

DON’T hold onto papers that you do not need. Did you know that 80% of filed papers are never
referred to again!

DO learn which papers you can safely toss.

DON’T keep making the same mistakes over and over again when it comes to managing your
papers. There is no need to keep paying late fees, to miss events and sales, to blow deadlines,
and to feel completely overwhelmed because you can’t keep up with your papers.

DO get help when you need it! Depending on your situation, you may need information on how to
manage your papers, someone to work with you to create systems that you can easily follow, or
someone to handle your paperwork for you.

GO try it!

Schedule 30 minutes to DO some of the suggestions and notice the difference that it makes.

Need more help? Email us for more tips to organize papers.

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