I get asked a lot about how to stay on top of all the papers that you receive on a daily basis. Between new mail, advertisements, catalogs, bills, email and anything that your husband and/or kids bring home it can be overwhelming!
Mail and Miscellaneous Papers
The best advice that I can give you is something that I learned in business school many years ago. It served me well when I worked as an office manager for many years and it still does to this day. “Touch it the paper once and be done with it.” What I mean by that is that you need to make a decision on each piece of paper when you get it. Don’t just put it in a stack or pile on a table or counter. If it’s not something you need or will read in the next two weeks, trash it now.
Be honest with yourself when you do this. If you hesitate and talk yourself into believing you will read or use it, then you defeat the purpose. You know what you really will do, so go with that first decision.
If the paperwork is something that needs to be dealt with, like a bill, put it in a file with your other bills until time to pay them. I use a tickler file for my bills. I file by month and date so I can check that file weekly to see what’s due. You can get something like this relatively inexpensively on Amazon. Here’s one for $11.95. https://www.amazon.com/Pendaflex-Guides-Monthly-Jan-Dec-Polypropylene/dp/B0013CLP26/ref=sr_1_10?crid=3JCYPLWOWMWC6&keywords=tickler+file&qid=1555111185&s=gateway&sprefix=tickler+files%2Caps%2C207&sr=8-10
If the next piece of paper needs a response, respond to it now and get it in the mail and out of your mind and hair. This process may take you a half hour at the most when you first get started with it but as you get the hang of it, it will take you less and less time. Eventually it will become second nature. Believe me, it’s a lot easier to take the time to do this now than to have to take hours going through stacks and stacks of it when you really need to find something. AND, you won’t be missing any bills that get lost and then you get late charges.
Focus on new paper first and open and handle it on a daily basis. Be careful of “temporary holding spots” that become long term storage. Even a filing cabinet can become out of control if everything is just thrown into it.
Be sure that you opt out of any emails that you don’t read on a regular basis and stop printing all of your email. If the email is something that you think you’ll read later, start a file folder. Then sit down once a week and spend the time to read it all then.
Remember – one and done – one touch and it’s in it’s in it’s proper place or the trash! You may not be able to stop all the never-ending flow of incoming papers but can at least get it under control.
For more tips on organizing your email, you can check out my post on organizing your email here: https://cherylosler.com/five-ways-to-organize-your-email/.
And if you want tips on organizing your photos here is my blog post on it: https://cherylosler.com/five-ways-to-organize-your-email/