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Top Tips to Eliminate the Paper Clutter – in less than 10 mins a day!

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Paper clutter seems to present the most problems for many to control, both at home or in the office. On a daily basis we are bombarded with paper from all over and it can get out of control quickly, if you do not know how to manage it well. It then becomes an overwhelming task, which requires the assistance of a home organiser or office organiser.

1. Identify the source
What is the source of all this paper and where does it end up? The main sources include printed emails, junk mail, newspapers and several written lists. Do you operate with a single in tray system or do you have paper scattered on the table, in the home office, kitchen bench and other places?

2. Put a stop to it before it reaches your In Tray.
Unwanted subscriptions should be cancelled, a “no junk mail” sign should be visible and your post should be opened over a shredder and recycling bin, prior to placing the important ones in the In Tray. Unwanted advertising fliers can be recycled but any credit card offers or personal information must be shredded, to prevent identity theft.

3. Use technology to your advantage.
Think carefully before printing emails or information from the Internet. Articles, news and emails can be perused online and any documents which may be required in the future, filed as soft copies in a folder on your computer or in the Cloud. You will be able to access documents on the Cloud from multiple devices. Eliminate multiple calendars and post it notes, and transfer the information to a single calendar and task list, such as is available on Google or Outlook.

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4. Tackle your existing piles of paper.
Although these habits will help you, the piles you already have need to be tackled. You can start a new habit today and work gradually. Use a timer for 5-10 minutes as you pick a pile to work through – you will be amazed at how much you accomplish. My office organizer system is called RAFT (Read, Action, File or Throw), which is quite simple and helps me to make quick decisions regarding each piece of paper. The main objective is the placement of each piece of paper, in its rightful place when you have finished. Everything will not necessarily be completed, but you will be able to locate each item when you need it to be actioned.

5. Schedule time to action papers.
Scheduling the action for efficient management of papers is the secret. Once you decide when you are planning to action, record the start date (not the due date) and file accordingly for you to follow up. On the due date, retrieve the document, and follow the RAFT system. Repetition of the same task regularly, will enable the set up of a weekly schedule. You could also use a tickler system with documents filed temporarily according to month, week or day, for future action.

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6. Create a good filing system.
The lack of a good filing system results in most persons becoming overwhelmed. It is therefore advisable to invest in a good system that is suitable for your needs, to locate and retrieve information with relative ease and speed. About 85% of the information you file is not usually referred to again, so only important documents need to be retained. Clear out the unnecessary ones on an annual basis at least. Scanning of documents helps reduce the paper as well, and important original documents need to be stored in labelled boxes and archived with the content details and a destruction date.

Don’t let your paper clutter overwhelm you. Place documents where they belong, which may even be in the bin, recycler or shredder! I trust these tips were helpful and as your professional organiser Melbourne, I am always willing to reduce your paper mountains and provide solutions to keep your paperwork flowing.