Do you know how to organize paperwork? Dealing with it is just one of those things you just have to do. How well you do it is your choice, so use a system for work and home.
Wherever you are, things will flow smoothly when you can get the information you need quickly and easily.
Essentially, your paperwork is anything and everything you want to read, record, remember, or refer to.
What's the issue?
Paperwork comes in random forms at random times. Some things you probably know what to do with; others tend to gather on an ever growing ‘What do I do with this?’ pile.
Things get left, things get lost and life becomes harder than it should be.
Fixing paperwork problems means you have to do something about it. To be specific, there are two things:
Get the supplies
If you want to know how to organize paperwork you’ll need to invest a bit of time and money. Doing so will repay you many times over, so make this an ‘event’,
Buy what you don’t already have from the following:
You’ll obviously need somewhere to put things, which means shelf space. Either put them up or use a bookshelf that can accommodate A4 sized files.
You don’t specifically have to have these things. Stationers sell such a wide variety of office supplies, so ‘cut to fit’ your needs and preferences.
Okay, what next?
Try the system
One day’s work takes one day to process.
There is a limit to how much paperwork you can process in one day. The best way to tackle it? One day at a time. More specifically, deal with one day’s worth of paperwork each day – the day after you receive it.
You have stuff coming in daily, and you probably have a backlog you still want to tackle, too.
Here’s how to organize paperwork:
Okay, so you pick up the first item to act on. You either deal with it, defer it or dump it.
Let’s look at all three…
So far, the focus has been on how to organize paperwork. What about when to organize it?
This is an important consideration. You probably haven’t got the time or inclination to spend all day and night doing paperwork (have you?!)
Instead, batch it. Make paperwork a priority at certain times. Go through it at the start and end of your day. In between, aim to allocate a block of time to deal with it.
Not possible? Then fit things in when and where you can. Yes, use routines; but there’s no need to be a slave to them.
If you want to know how to organize paperwork then try this system. It works if you use it. Adapt and refine it to suit your needs and circumstances, until you know exactly what goes where.
This principle also applies to email.
Once you know how to organize paperwork you’ll waste less thought, time and effort on things that really don’t need or deserve excessive amounts of your time and attention.
Now you can spend it on things that do.
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Last week's TMS question results (Feb 20-26):
"When is it hardest to manage your time?"