Organize Paper Clutter

Paper ClutterI love organizing, but paperwork used to my biggest challenge. I tried to get organized by sorting papers into piles: To Mail. To Shred. To Recycle. To Do Later. To Do Sooner. DO TODAY! But faced with all those piles I was so overwhelmed I ended up only doing what I had to do and putting the rest off for later – much later.

Then last summer Teacher and I both read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I adapted his ideas to come up with a system that works for me.

 

As your paperwork comes in, sort it into one of four categories: Do, Defer, Deposit, or Dump.

  • Do: Take care of the things you can get done in 2 minutes or less right away. Then pat yourself on the back for cutting down on paper clutter and stress.
  • Defer: Set aside things that will take longer than 2 minutes. Put these on your To Do pile, then set aside some time every day to get them done.
  • Deposit: File the things you need to keep, like appliance instruction manuals or articles you want to reference later.
  • Dump: Get rid of junk mail and any other garbage right away.

 

You can do the same thing with your email! As you read each message, decide where it belongs:

  • Do: Reply right away if you can do it in 2 minutes or less.
  • Defer: Move messages that will require more than 2 minutes of your time out of your Inbox to a different folder. I set up an “Action” folder and use flags to indicate priority messages.
  • Deposit: File messages you may need to look up later into a separate folder. Mine is named “Reference” and divided into subfolders for blogging, child care, sewing, etc.
  • Delete: Get rid of spam and any messages you don’t need to keep.

 

Now it’s your turn to share:
How do YOU organize paperwork both online and off? Share your tips to managing physical and digital clutter!

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Amy Sue

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