8 Ways To Boost Your Productivity
While your co-workers start every day enjoying a cup of coffee together in the break room, you’re barely able to find time to call your doctor. While they’re taking lunches, you’re rushing through another meal at your desk. Sound familiar? Here’s the good news: This apparent discrepancy may not mean you’ve got a bigger workload or that you’re a harder worker. Instead, it may mean that they’ve mastered certain time-saving skills and habits that you haven’t—until now. From prioritizing your workload to learning which projects don’t need to be perfect, read on to discover eight workplace habits that’ll boost your productivity and lower your stress levels.
What To Keep, What To Toss
Letting go of paper is difficult. The reasoning often goes like this: If they sent it to me it must be important, so I should keep it. Thus, the tendency is to keep everything and that tendency is mostly fed by fear. What to keep, what to toss – that’s the question.
Almost universally, my clients say they are afraid to let go of paper. Afraid they might need it. But when I ask in what scenario they imagine needing it, they draw a blank. They don’t have an answer. They feel afraid and that’s all that matters.
The reason they feel afraid is because they aren’t empowered with clear guidelines. Having clear guidelines makes the decision process exponentially easier. Guidelines create confidence. When you are confident about your decisions you feel in control, and sorting through paper becomes less of a burden.
Before we get to the guidelines, I think it’s important to briefly discuss the reasons why paper comes into our lives.
Let’s start with bills. Bills are sent because the creditor wants to be paid, not necessarily because the creditor wants you to have a record of your transactions, that’s really just a bonus. Somethings, like updates to privacy policies, are sent because there is a law in place saying they must be sent. Somethings come to you because the sender wants to convey a message and paper was the vehicle of choice. The point I want to make is that you do not have to keep something just because it was sent to you. You should keep the things that make a difference to your financial or legal well being, which differs from person to person. Beyond that, what you decide to keep is purely optional.
With that said, there are a few documents that everyone should keep permanently. These important papers should be kept in a secure location, where they are safe from environmental hazards and disasters. I would encourage you to invest in a safety deposit box, or at the very least a highly rated fire proof safe. I would also suggest that you scan these papers before putting them in a safety deposit box, so you have easy access if you need the information in a hurry. (Please remember, this is just a guide. Always consult with a legal or financial professional when in doubt.)
- Birth Certificates
- Adoption and/or Custody Papers
- Citizenship and/or Naturalization Papers
- Social Security and/or National Identification Cards
- Marriage, Separation, and/or Divorce Papers
- Diplomas and Professional Certificates
- Real Estate and/or Business Sale Documentation
- Lien and Loan Releases
- Documents Supporting Legal Judgments
To learn more about what papers need to be kept and which can be let go of safely, click on the link to get my What To Keep, What to Toss: The Definitive Paper Retention Guide, you can view and save it. While I hope the guidelines empower you to let go of paper clutter, I also want you to feel comfortable. Sometimes baby steps are best. Letting go of excess paper in stages can ease the transition.
Please leave your questions in the comment section, or drop me a line here. I will respond to all inquiries. If you have ideas on keeping paper, please share your tips!
If you want to learn to manage your paper and do away with the associated clutter, be sure to check out Paper Organization Made Easy Online Workshop. Get a handle on your paper once and for all. It’s the perfect resource if you feel like you are drowning in paper, or you struggle with finding what you need, when you need it.
Summer is winding down. It’s a time when many people are getting to ready to send the kiddos back to school. With a new school year comes a tidal wave of paper. That’s something many of my clients struggle with, managing and organizing all that paper. Really their struggle is with paper in general, the school year merely exacerbates the problem. Kids or not, for most people the inflow of paper is never ending.
Paper floods the average home each and every day. The mail brings bills, statements, advertising circulars, catalogs and letters. Briefcases teem with take home work, professional journals, pay stubs, memos and benefit information. Backpacks unleash reams kid’s artwork, meeting notices, permission slips, calendars and sports schedules.
Not surprisingly, paper organization is the number one reason prospective clients call me. Paper clutter is a universal issue. Paper creates a sense of urgency and with that urgency there often comes some level of overwhelm.
The urgency and overwhelm are natural, because paper clutter costs money and time. (In this economy who can afford that? My guess is no one.) And it causes unhealthy stress. A missing permission slip derails the entire family on the way out the door. Hide-and-seek bills lead to late payment fees. Lose the sports roster and it’s back to the phone book each time you need to contact the soccer car pool.
The stress is also natural. Each piece of paper necessitates a decision. If you feel at all unsure, you might choose to delay making decisions. It’s a common coping mechanism. Saying ‘I will get to it tomorrow’ might bring relief for the moment, but soon that tactic backfires. Before long you will find yourself inundated by piles.
Without a plan for paper managing and organizing paper, a household can easily drown in the rising tide of paper. Why let that happen? As far as I can see there would be no reason unless you were excited about spending more money than you need to, creating more stress than necessary and wasting time you don’t really have.
What if you could easily remove all the stress and chaos paper creates? Would you jump at the chance? I am betting you would. The Paper Organization Online Workshop takes you through the entire process of organizing and managing paper efficiently and effectively. The end result is a system that will support you, never letting you down. Imagine no more paper clutter, no more paper related stress. Imagine always being able to find what you need when you need it. How great would that be?! The Paper Organization Online Workshop will make it a reality. Guaranteed. The workshop offers a no risk sign up, so you have nothing to lose (except stress) and everything to gain.
In the meantime checkout the some paper organization how-to ideas here: Paper Organization Tips. This link is the first in a four part series. And be sure to get your Guide To Organized Living. It’s my gift to you. Sign up is at the upper right side of any page at OrganizingMaven.com.
The paperless society has yet to become a reality, so managing the inflow of paper is something we all have in common. Dealing with paper is a stressful issue for most people. Each piece of paper necessitates a decision. If you feel at all unsure, you might choose to delay making decisions. It’s a common coping mechanism. Saying ‘I will get to it tomorrow’ might bring relief for the moment, but soon that tactic backfires. Before long you will find yourself inundated by piles of paper. The whole idea of paper organization may seem as far fetched as pigs flying.
Paper clutter creates a real unease. Have you missed something critical? Is a bill going unpaid? Have you offended someone because you didn’t RSVP? So many things could be lurking in your piles.
The truth is you are only a system away from organizing and managing all that paper with ease. Using the right system will make you the master of all the paper that enters your space. Ready to get started?
Step 1: Dedicate a place to corral all incoming paper. A single collection point means you won’t need to wander around looking for stray paper. All paper, no matter the source, should land here. Choose a location that is convenient and feels natural. Ideally you should be able to easily access it even if you hands are full. Work with any habit you already have in place. For example, if papers normally land on the kitchen counter, you may want choose to dedicate a section to paper. Once you’ve chosen a location, add a container. The container is important in that it will contain your papers so they remain in one place. I know that sounds ridiculously elementary, but containerizing stops paper from the unwelcome spreading and overtaking of surfaces.
Step 2: Get acquainted with the the four possible decisions. In the broadest sense, there are only four choices for any piece of paper that enters your space. You will:
- Release it:You don’t need it, so you recycle or shred. It doesn’t belong to you, so you pass it on.
- Act on it: It requires some action on your part. Falling into this category are things you need to pay (bills), read (HOA newsletter), use (coupons), respond to (invitations) or think on (summer camp brochure).
- Reference it: These papers don’t require action, but they have information you will want to refer to in the future. Types of things that fall into this category might be sports schedules, school handbooks, manuals, takeout menus, phone lists, and so on.
- Archive it: These are things that you will you will not need to reference regularly, if at all, but must be kept for legal, financial or historical reasons. Things that fall into this category might be tax returns, tax receipts, loan documents, home improvement records, property deeds, birth certificates, and so on.
Step 3: Decide how you will house the three categories of keepers. What is your paper personality? Do you like to see things on display? Do your prefer to have paperwork hidden behind doors? Or maybe something in between? Are you a natural piler (piles are not necessarily bad, it’s how they are managed, or more aptly mismanaged, that can cause problems) or more of a filer?
The is no ‘right’ way to house paper. It needs to work for YOU, so let go of any ‘shoulds’ and start thinking about what would feel comfortable. This really is a critical step. If you choose a method that feels counter intuitive it’s highly unlikely that you will use it for very long, if at all. Remember, while file folders are very useful, they are not the only the only way to store paper. Don’t feel that you have to take a traditional route. You are free to get creative.
Online Workshop Alert: If you are ready to end paper clutter and get your papers organized for good, the Paper Organization Online Workshop is for you. The Paper Organization Online Workshop takes you through the entire process of organizing and managing paper efficiently and effectively. Imagine no more paper clutter, no more paper related stress. Imagine always being able to find what you need when you need it. How great would that be?! The Paper Organization Online Workshop will make it a reality. Guaranteed. The workshop offers a no risk sign up, so you have nothing to lose (except stress) and everything to gain.
In Part 2, I will let you in on why you don’t need to keep nearly as much as you think you do. Get ready to be empowered to discard with confidence!
In the meantime start corralling your paper. If are you wondering about storage options or anything else surrounding the issue of paper management, leave your question in the comment section, or drop me a line here. I will respond to all inquiries. If you have a system that works well, please share your tips!