Thursday, April 26, 2007

How do I deal with the paper?

I was reading some blogs last night and saw this comment CoachJ left on Laura's blog.

"I've got the desk left to do, and since my husband has his own business
and I'm the bookkeeper of said business, all this paper really does have a
purpose, and to clean it up means I have to touch it all!! I cannot get
motivated to do that."

Here are a few quick ideas I thought of:

  1. Throw away any paper that does obviously not belong in the space (takeaway menus come to mind). The better you do this part, the easier the rest of the process will be.
  2. Decide what does belong there. Some things will be "keepers" but just don't need to be in that space and can be moved to storage.
  3. Determine your organising style. Suzanne has a great new book out - I've read it and I recommend buying it so you can find your organising style. Personally I can't work on a cluttered desk but I understand that other people have different styles.
  4. Things that you use nearly every day should be near you while things you don't need to access that often can be kept further away. E.g. I only do filing once a week so I don't keep any files on my desk.
  5. Make piles (CoachJ, you said you've got this part down!). Use broad categories at first and narrow down later if you need to. E.g. with me, it's Clients.... then coaching, organising, corporate... File so that YOU can find it. I am very good at remembering people's names so I often file by name. This wouldn't work for my husband though.
  6. Then do the actual filing. This is of course the fun part for the weirdos like me - I can make my files pretty for hours on end. It does help to have cute files so you're more likely to keep up your system.
  7. Maintain. This is the most important part of any organising (in my humble opinion). Suzanne, what do you think? You've got to set aside some time every week to get the desk in order again. Now that I'm typing I remember seeing an article Suzanne wrote on tidying your desk in 30 seconds. That will help.

I'm talking about scheduling just 15 minutes (CoachJ, you'll have to do more because it's business and household paper) a week to file everything away again.

And there you have it.

If I think of anymore tips, I'll edit this post.


Suzanne said...

Routine, routine, routine. Put the ol' brain on auto pilot and never worry about the mess again...At least during the middle of the night, when you wake up in the cold sweats. Your non-messy-routine-driven-tidy desk will not be what is driving you to distraction! (Check to see if you 16 year-old daughter is in her room instead!)

Coach J said...

Well, I'm just tickled pink! :) I've never seen a post with sidebars for little ole me! Thank you very much.
And I'll take your advice to heart. Maybe tomorrow afternoon, I can get back in here and start that system.
I'll let you know how it's goin'.

org junkie said...

Great tips Marcia! Paperwork is a nightmare which makes having a good system essential!


Marcia said...

You can do it! I have no doubt that you’ll do a great job! And you deserve linkies ;)

You are too funny!
Are you moonlighting as a stand-up comic?

You're so right - it can SO easily turn into a nightmare. Was just busy coaching someone now and we discussed the paper nightmare - ughhh

Jessica Duquette said...

great, blog, Marcia, I am so glad I ran across it! I just got finished recently with Ariane Benefit's Organizer's Show Us Your Desk Challenge:

I love your handbag post. I think it's getting to be time for a professional organizer's blogring!

I look forward to reading more of your blog.


Jessica Duquette
from It's Not About Your Stuff

Marcia said...

Jessica, thanks for visiting!