One of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to getting organized is paperwork. No matter how much we shred, recycle, and file it, there is always more coming in. I use an easy system of three active files to keep my incoming paperwork under control. You can do this, too, with some inexpensive folders and a spot to keep them that you’ll access easily and often. Here are the labels I use:
1. Coming Up – Many of the papers we keep lying around are things we need for a later date: invitations, tickets, or instructions for an upcoming appointment. When you receive these things, make a note of the event in your calendar and then place the needed papers in this folder. When the date comes around you will know exactly where to find them.
2. To Do – This is the place for items that require action on your part: a bill to pay, a card to send, or an offer that is expiring. The trick to using this folder is to check it every day, otherwise you might forget something important. If you are the type who needs to see things to be reminded of them, an open desk tray might be a better option for your To Do items. This system will work as long as you assign them a home and check it regularly.
3. To File – In an ideal world we would file paperwork as soon as it is processed. Realistically, that doesn’t always happen. Keep your space tidy with a folder to stash those items you need to file later, and – this part is key – set a regular date to do so. Filing a week’s worth of paper is no big deal, but if you let it build up for months it becomes a daunting task.
Remember, the less paperwork you receive the easier it is to keep it under control! Consider paying bills online and reduce your junk mail with the resources provided in this post.
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