breeding paperwork

e2f12-paperpileAt 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Put things away after you use them. This prevents your handling the same paper multiple times or mistakenly sticking something into the wrong file.
  3. 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?

Marcie Lovett, Organized by Marcie
Find more organizing and productivity tips on twitter, facebook and pinterest

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