We all have the best of intentions when it comes to organizing paperwork at work. But often despite our best effort, we are left digging through the piles of paper that have overtaken our desk and losing valuable time due to the paper clutter. This Professional Organizer in NYC has seen it firsthand and has noted that many people are still inundated with paper and face one if not all of the three most common paper organizing paperwork challenges.
Challenge #1: You aren’t filing papers on a regular basis.
During a busy day at the office, it’s not uncommon for tasks to back up. You may have piles of paper in your inbox, several files out on top of your work space, and not a lot of time to do anything about it. Here’s the problem: when you aren’t filing papers right away or have a designated spot to collect documents to be filed on a regularly scheduled basis, papers pile up in the most inappropriate spots. As you get caught up in your daily tasks and projects, the piles continue to grow. When you finally have time to start filing, you are overwhelmed with the amount of work required and abandon the task before the job is done. Avoid getting into this situation by filing as you go. As soon as you are finished with a document, take 2-3 seconds to file it where it belongs in your filing cabinet. You could also set up a to-file bin and collect your filing in it. The key is to then to schedule 5-10 minutes for yourself at the end of each work day (or week depending on how quickly the filing collects) and get those papers filed.
Challenge #2: You don’t have a clear filing system in place.
You may be great with processing incoming paper, but if you don’t have a clearly organized system to file it away, you will continue to struggle with the paper clutter. Investing a little time now to set up a filing system will pay off over and over again. Spending valuable time searching for a piece of paper or file that you need impacts your productivity as this will typically happen while you are trying to finish up an important deadline sensitive task. Also, if you aren’t sure exactly where a document should be filed, you are more likely to leave it on your desk adding to the clutter. Keeping the system simple, labeling the tabs with phrases that resonant with you and knowing the exact location for each category of information, will ensure that you’ll never question where a piece of paper should go.
Challenge #3: You save every paper that enters your office.
You can have a system for organizing paperwork in place, but if you are saving every single piece of paper that enters your office, you won’t have any room for those must keep documents! Keep in mind that 80% of the paperwork that is filed is never accessed. Be critical as you decide which documents to file and use questions like “can I get another copy” in your decision making process. If the paperwork contains important information, such as tasks that need to be accomplished or dates and times of meetings, then add that information to your to-do list and your calendar appropriately. Once you’ve copied the information, then you no longer need to save that piece of paper.
The good news is that while these challenges are common, there are solutions! By filing in a timely manner, having an easy to use filing system in place, and not saving every piece of paper, you’ll quickly notice a significant reduction in the paper clutter in your office. Then you’ll be able to be creative and productive in your organized work space! Want more hands on help with paper organizing? Reach out to your Professional Organizer in NYC.