Often the very last thing on our ‘to do’ lists, paperwork and mail has a habit of piling up and becoming unmanageable. Here are some practical tips
Paperwork is often the very last thing on our ‘to do’ lists. It seems like a chore and there’s always something better to do, so it gets put off until later. Unfortunately ‘later’ does not always happen, causing it to build up until it all becomes too much.
Grab some paper and pens and a label maker (or labels and a sharpie), and have a think about what you do with your mail when it comes in the door. Do you open it straight away? Great! If not, where do you put it? It’s important to create a home for your incoming mail at the point where you normally put it down, whether that’s the kitchen, entranceway or office.
Use any kind of vessel, tray or box that will work for you and make sure you only put your mail in that place, not in multiple places. Now spend some time looking through your mail and papers and work out what is coming in the door. You may have bills to pay, items to file, action or read, children’s school letters etc. One of these categories needs to be ‘open the mail’ if you don’t open your mail straight away. Write these categories down – I suggest you don’t have any more than eight categories.
Now it’s time to set up a system! Using a 6-8 tier file organiser with manila folders works well, as does a stackable paper organiser (you may have to purchase something.) Label each folder or tray with your chosen categories. Organise any papers you have into your new system. The biggest problem with paperwork is that we don’t schedule in time to do it. So get out your diary/device and schedule in time slots that will fit in with you (be realistic here) to action your chosen categories. The system you have now set up is constantly recurring – if you don’t have a permanent system to file paperwork you will have to create one.
- Create a place for incoming mail.
- Set up a temporary/recurring mail system.
- Schedule in regular slots to do your paperwork.
- Create a permanent filing system if you don’t have one.
- Schedule in time to work on any backlog of paperwork you have in achievable chunks.
- Declutter the mail in your permanent system yearly.