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Organize + Energize: How To Manage All That Paper

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

 

Are you drowning in a sea of paper? Follow these tips and learn how to navigate those waters like a pro!

Ask any disorganized person what their #1 issue is when it comes to being organized and they will tell you it is paper management. As long as paper is around, you need to have a system to handle and manage your paper.

Are you working off piles on the floor?  Do you have a mound of paper on your desk? Are you missing checks or cash? Does it take you more than 10 seconds to locate a file? Are you late paying your bills, which in turn cause you to pay late fees? Do you have mail and random papers in a pile in the kitchen?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have paper management issues that need to be handled ASAP. Get your paper under control!

Everybody handles paper differently, but the process to handle paper can be the same. Whether your paper is coming through the mail or email, have a system to process each and every paper that comes through your hands. The longer you let it pile up, the easier it is to continue to throw more papers into the pile and before you know it, you are in over your head and completely overwhelmed.

Here are 5 quick tips that might be helpful with some of the paper you are having difficulty with:

Keep a pouch or hanging file for your monthly receipts.

At the end of the month, match and attach receipts to your credit card statements and file in a designated folder.

Don't wait!

Have a folder for any tax/insurance information that you acquire over the year. As soon as it comes in, file it away.

Don’t let money/checks/credit cards get lost in the mix.

I guarantee if you are drowning in paper, there is money in those piles. I have seen it too many times to count. Handle your money as soon as you receive it. If you aren’t able to handle it right away, dedicate a pouch to your money so you at least have a place to store it until you can get to it. Also, dedicate a pouch to store gift cards and coupons.

Don’t let business cards that you receive get thrown in the mix of the pile.

Find a system that works for you to organize your cards. Deal with them as soon as you get them or depending on how many you collect a week, maybe set 5-10 minutes a week on a certain day to handle your cards.

Be sure you have file folders for your payables/invoices.

As soon as you pay the bills, file them in labeled folders. Have a file folder for each company you pay bills to. Label and alphabetize these folders so they can be found quickly.

I know everybody is busy and some may say it is difficult to file every day. It is ok if you can’t get to filing items on a daily basis, BUT at least have a folder that you can drop documents into and then at the end of the week re-visit the folder and file the contents away. Be sure that folder is empty by Friday afternoon so you can start your week fresh on Monday!

It is not just about the systems you create. Maintaining the systems and creating routines is what is going to keep you on track and keep you organized.

 

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. Kristin has appeared on air on www.talkstreamradio.com and Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio. Her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Her CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start and is available at the following locations listed here. She is also available for organizing workshops.

 

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