Managing the flow of paper that moves through your office can only be done efficiently if you truly have a place to put every piece of paper that comes through.
And sometimes the only way you can set that up is by taking the time to set up a filing system that truly can recieve it all.
How to do this? First, go out and buy yourself a new box of file folders. I know you have have file folders that you’ve been using and re-using for the last 12 years, but really, every decade or so it’s good to have fresh, clean, stiff folders.
Next, set aside an hour or two to dedicate to this task — it’s well worth it, believe me. Then:
1) Pull out your file drawer.
2) Pull out each file, one by one. Throw out (or shred) any materials that are out of date (e.g., you don’t need credit card or gas bills that are more than five years old).
3) Throw out or shred any materials that you simply don’t need (e.g., the user manual for the clock radio you no longer own or directions for a volunteer project that was completed three years ago).
4) Congratulate yourself on having thrown away what will probably be about one-third of the paper in the drawer.
4) Look at the files you have left and replace any folders that are torn, tattered, or otherwise not useful with brand new ones.
5) Take a few moments to consider what other file folders you might need — e.g., for decorating ideas torn from shelter magazines; for dog training tips; for articles you want to read but aren’t sure when.
6) Create those new folders.
7) Arrange the file folders in your drawer in a way that makes sense to you — alphabetical order perhaps, or grouped by type (e.g., “bills”, “home” “records”).
8) Continue on to your next drawer.
It’s not hard. It’s very satisfying. And it will make your life easier.