|Speaking at Multiple Births Canada National Conference, Oct. 2011|
Since founding Simply Organized Life in 2005, the question I am most asked is "What to do with all those pesky paper piles?"
After a busy summer filled with lots of activities outside the home, I found myself with some sizable paper piles in my office. I made the piles go away and am only left with my current project folders on my desk. Here's what I did:
1) Set Aside the Time
Being a professional organizer, I know how to handle paperwork and (gasp) actually enjoy it. However, several rounds of house guests and our busy summer schedule kept me away from my home office where the paper piled up. At the first opportunity, I scheduled time in my calendar to deal with the paper on my desk.
2) Just Do It
Paper piles can be pretty intimidating. It is much easier (and more fun) to check your e-mail, surf Facebook or do just about anything other than sorting through the papers. What I find works for me is to set a timer for a short amount of time (say 15 minutes) and just starting dealing with the paper pile top down. If a bill appears, I pay it. If project papers appear, I schedule time in my calendar or create a project file. Most people can handle those types of action papers, but what about those pesky papers that you *might* need to refer to in the future?
3) Put it Away
Everyone needs a system for those little bits of paper that we want to refer to in the future. The thing is that if we cannot retrieve those papers when we need them, what is the point of keeping them?
I utilize a combination of paper files, like the family binder I referred to in my "Get Organized for Back to School" post, and am slowly shifting to a paperless system for other things. For my children's artwork I either take a photograph or scan the items. These things are stored by month and year with our digital photos. For other things, like interesting magazine articles or websites, I scan and save to Evernote, which I can then search at a later date.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be presenting "5 Habits for an Organized Office" at Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. on October 12, 2012. Register now with Ann Arbor Rec & Ed. Please note that Carolyn was not compensated by any vendors for this blog post.