Papers, papers, and more papers! We have to stay positive and powerful over them or they will take over! I would say a good 80% of our clients have paper accumulation problems. In this blog, we’ll show you how you can keep your desktop sanity.
The Invasion of the Papers
Papers come from schools, meetings, work, mail and everywhere! The thing about papers is that they never stop coming in. For instance, the mail never takes a two week vacation! Since it doesn’t, we must manage it so that it doesn’t take over…our kitchen, our desk, our table, our life! Click here for our paper organizing tips.
Most people are so busy, they can’t stop and really give thought about the papers coming in. Knowing there’s more coming tomorrow, we need to take care of today’s papers with the goal of keeping only the necessary ones. In simplest form, we don’t want to keep anything that we are not going to refer to or that are not tax supporting documents we’ll need in an audit. The less we have to file, the better.
When the mail comes in (or any paper for that matter), it is 1 of 5 choices:
- Trash or recycle
- To be paid
- To be filed or
- If you’re working on your actual business work desk, you’ll also have “pending”.
Making a Place for Each Category
With these categories in mind and for maximum efficiency, you’ll want to be sure your desk has a recycle or trash bin nearby. You’ll most likely need a shredder nearby, as well. Create a space (like a desk tray) on top of the shredder or bookcase where the items to be shredded can wait until you’re ready. Only create a 2” pile of space for items to be shredded because if you have a large box to shred – it will be extremely hard to find the time. On a side note about shredders – many shredders burn up due to owners not knowing they need to oil them. Every time you empty the shredding, simply spread a small line of vegetable oil across the middle of a piece of paper. Run it forward and then backward through the shredder. Your shredder will last longer!
Next, you’ll want to have a specific place where you put your items that need to be paid. The items to be filed need a specific place, too, and like the shredding, it needs to have a limited space. Nobody likes filing, but if the pile is 8” high, anybody would put that off – including me! The action papers need to be where you will see them each day.
As with any and all spaces, you want to put the items most often used in the prime real estate, meaning your desktop. The papers you need less frequently can go in a file drawer in the desk and then the papers that have to be kept, but rarely referred to, should go in the file cabinet.
Desk Location and Lighting Is Important
Two other tips of office space is to have your desk – when you’re sitting face the door or a window. Try to avoid having your back to the doorway, as this will make you feel closed off when you’re sitting there. You’ll also want to have adequate lighting near or on your desk.
You Decide if Your Desktop is Your Friend or Enemy
You want to strive to keep only the items you’re working with on top of your desk. This will help you keep your sanity. If you have mountains of papers and clutter on your desktop, it creates a lot of stress and hardship. Looking for items will take up a lot of time and the environment would not be positive or helpful to work in. No matter if your desk is at work or at home, you’ll want to feel good and not be stressed when you’re trying to take care of things. Be mindful to have only the items that are used often on your desktop. You may also want to be careful of having too many personal items taking up too much space on your desktop.
I use an incline sorter on my desktop like the one pictured here. The files I use often are kept in it. At this moment, I have 9 file folders in my desktop sorter with 3 legal pads in the last slot. This is very, very helpful. I do not have to constantly open a drawer, find the file and pull it out or find the spot to put it back in correctly. If you use a file often, you’re more apt to leave it out on your desk rather than pulling it in and out and therefore, they create a cluttered looking desk. That’s why the incline sorter is great! Each file is labeled and in alphabetical order. It’s so easy to pull the file in and out or simply pull out a form that I need.
In conclusion, I cannot stress the value enough of having a clutter-free desktop. It makes whatever work I’m doing feel so much easier.