Are you struggling with organizing paperwork in your office? It’s a common challenge, and one I’m often asked about. Creating systems and strategies for managing your paperwork will directly impact your productivity. This month your NYC Professional Office Organizer is answering frequently asked questions related to controlling the paper piles.
Q: I save every single paper that comes into my office, and though I know it’s not necessary, I struggle with knowing what to save and what to toss. Any tips?
A: Recognizing that you are saving many more documents than you need is an important first step. I find that the best way to get past knowing what to keep and what to toss is to focus on one question. If you can quickly and confidently answer this question, you will be able to make quicker decisions as your sort through the paperwork on your desk. The question is: Where can I get another copy if I need it? Give this a shot as you review the papers in your inbox and see
how many you can trash.
Q: I find myself wasting paper regularly at work. I’ll print out emails to save dates for meetings and tasks I need to complete. How can I break that habit, and what should I do instead?
A: It would be more efficient, in addition to saving paper, to simply put the dates, meeting location, and details right on your calendar while reading the email. The same goes for tasks. These should be added directly to your to-do list as you are reading the email that delivered the tasks. If there’s info that you’ll need to reference when tackling the tasks, you can move the email to a to-do folder in your email system. Or (while you’re learning new habits) you can also put a printout of the email in your paper project or action folder so that you can refer to it when addressing the tasks.
Q: My least favorite thing to do at work is to file, so I end up leaving papers piled up on my desk for days, and sometimes even weeks. This makes it really difficult when I need to find something! Is there anything I can do to make filing easier?
A: As 80% of the documents that we file are typically never accessed, it is important to limit what gets filed as a lot of costly real estate is typically devoted to file cabinets. By establishing retention guidelines, you will have specific parameters concerning what to keep. Assess the type of paperwork that is collecting and then determine what really needs to be filed based on financial, legal, and other business or personal requirements. Once you have the guidelines,
then start applying them regularly.
Do you have questions for this NYC Professional Office Organizer? Send your question in and we’ll share the answer in an upcoming blog post!