Originally posted as part of the Live Better Friday series, I was reminded these past few weeks that these principles and practices never get old and can never get talked about enough!
Today I wanna talk about paper. Did the feeling of doom just settle over you as you look at your stacks of mail and randomness? Fear not, a solution is near, but you may not like what I’m gonna say.
What I will share with you goes for both home and your business, especially if you work from home! Treat your home office like you would any office space. Just because you might work from home doesn’t mean you can wing it.
To start, you need to keep VERY FEW papers. This includes bills, receipts, articles, newspapers, magazines, & notes. And don’t even get me started on the kids papers. That’s a whole ‘nother topic! In our digital age, almost anything you need to look at can be pulled up from a website. Plus, with a home scanner you can scan your way into digital bliss. Scan it, file it, and throw the hard copy away!
So, what you do decide to keep, you need a place to put it. A pile is not a file system! If you want to keep papers, make a hanging file system and label each file with the topic. I think in broad categories, like insurance. In this file I will have insurance policies for the house, the car, the _______. If you like it teased out more specifically, fine, but don’t over complicate it and get all caught up in the labeling. Just create a file so you have a place to stick the paper.
Ok, now go get some coffee and sit here for a while. I want to talk mail with you. I will not bore you the details of creating a mail system right now, but I want you to start dealing with the mail. What I mean by that is I want you to start OPENING the mail everyday, throwing junk out, and have a specific place you put your bills to pay and important papers you need.
Get yourself a shredder and a small trashcan. From today forward, when you get the mail, deal with it. If you don’t have time to deal with it today, then leave it in the mailbox. Getting the mail from the mailbox and putting it in a pile is complicating your life! Stop doing it. (just in case you’re wondering, yes, I am feeling a little Nanny 911 today. Some intervention needs to happen here!)
If you keep lots of papers it usually for one of two reasons: 1)You are afraid you can’t or won’t be able to find this information anywhere else ever again and therefore you MUST keep the paper! OR 2)You love information and it makes you feel safe and secure knowing that you have the information:) Either way, the papers will start to take on a life of their own and you will start drowning in them.
So today, I am asking you to take a look around and decide which pile to start tackling. What can you throw out right away? What changes can you make to start taming the paper beast? Don’t even make me come over and do it for you! You won’t like me for it!!
And just in case you needed a little guideline, here is an article (digital of course, and DO NOT print it off!!!!) on how long you should keep papers.