Even in this age
of advanced technology, I find papers can build up quickly on people's
desktops. Printouts from the internet, multiple versions of
documents and reports, projects that are easier to work on hard copy,
meeting notes, business cards, the list is endless. A
disorganized desk is intimidating, and steals energy and focus. Take
quick control of your piles with the following tips.
dig of the piles on most people's desks and counters would reveal that the
stacks can easily be divided into thirds: 1/3 is stuff waiting to be filed, 1/3
is stuff you should toss, 1/3 is stuff to-do. With the right approach,
you can increase the amount of stuff to toss, and seriously reduce those
of us only refer to 20% of the information we save....so think hard before
keeping things in paper or digital versions. Keep as much as possible on
the computer, and file only what is absolutely irreplaceable in your hard copy
file folders. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to determine if
something is worth filing:
Are there tax/legal reasons
to keep it?
Do I refer often to this
piece of paper?
Will it help me complete a
project I am working on right now?
Do I have time to do
anything with this piece of paper?
Does it tie in with the core
activities of my job?
If I ever needed it again,
could I easily get it from someone else?
Do I trust that the
information is up to date?
Does it represent a viable
Will it help me make money?
10. Would my work suffer if I didnít have it?
If you answer
yes to any of the previous questions, itís fair to keep it. If no, let it go.
that youíve determined what to keep, turn your attention to the pile
of items to toss. Get a shredder, if you donít have one; the Staples
12-sheet High-Speed Cross-Cut shredder shreds two times faster than any
other shredder Staples has. Their Minimate
Cross-Cut Shredder is tiny enough to fit right on the
desktop--making it easy to shred as you go, so you avoid a buildup of
paper. Nothing is more cleansing then getting caught up in the
feeding frenzy of eliminating the stacks of unnecessary paper. There is little
more satisfying that the sound of the shredder and watching surfaces reemerge
on your desk. Keep in mind that identity theft is a real problem when you have
too many papers lying around. Do they have your credit card info on them?
Social security or account numbers? Shredders should be cross-cut or
micro-cut shredder to minimize risk.
third of the papers on most people's desks and counters is items waiting
to be done. If those piles never move, it's time for a better reminder
system. Invest in a single, consistent planning tool to capture all of your
to-do's, and then file the papers (in your hard copy or digital files),
and simply write a reminder of the task that needs to be done, on the day you
intend to get the project done. Look for a planner that works
the way you do, whether digital or paper based system, which provides space for
tasks, appointments and notes.
paper from your desk will re-energize your space, boost your productivity,
and protect your most important information. Let me know what tricks you
use to decide what to keep and what to toss.