At one of my recent presentations, someone from the audience said that he wasn’t able to stay on top of the papers on his desk because they “just multiply.”
I hope I didn’t sound disrespectful when I replied that paper does not breed freely in captivity. The reason it appears that paper “multiplies” is because it isn’t being addressed in a timely manner.
You can keep your workspace clear with a few simple steps:
- Print less, save less. Before you print a document, ask yourself if you can save it (and retrieve it) electronically. When you receive printed materials, scan what it makes sense to keep and discard the rest.
- Put things away after you use them. This prevents your handling the same paper multiple times or mistakenly sticking something into the wrong file.
- End each workday with a clean desk. Set out only what you need to start the next day – your calendar, meeting agenda, notes for the project you need to finish that day, etc.
If you want to end your paper-breeding program, start with one of the new behaviors, practice it regularly and it will become habit. When you have it down, add another.
Do you have a technique for keeping paper from overwhelming your workspace?