7. Contact Information – Take all of the business cards, envelopes with your cousin’s new mailing address, note cards, scraps of paper, websites, phone numbers, and whatever other paper you have there with contact information on it, and do something with them. It doesn’t matter if you use a paper, electronic, or virtual system, commit to a system and use it to manage all of that information so you can release the paper.
Also, someone recently asked me what to do with referrals. Specifically, she was holding a piece of paper with the name of a doctor that a friend told her to see when she was ready for something that it wasn’t time for yet. I suggested that she could do anything she wants to, as long as she does something with the paper so it’s not in the pile and she can find when she needs it. I suggested either emailing the info to herself with a description like “eye doctor referral from jane doe” (so she can search for it later), enter the details in her address book with the explanation in the ‘notes’ section, or create a file folder for them and put them away in the filing cabinet. If they all go there, you’ll know exactly where to go to find one when you need it.
8. Legal Papers – So far, all of the legal papers that my students have reported fall into three categories. They either need to take action on the papers (like divorce papers that need to be read to see if they are accurate before signing them), archive the papers (like birth certificates and such), or they simply need to be released or perhaps shredded and then released (like rough drafts of papers that were later finalized). If you have legal papers stacked up around you, do what needs to be done and free yourself from the daily reminders of the legal drama. At the very least, release what you can and then make a file for the rest and put them away in a cabinet. Leaving that stuff stacked up around you, isn’t helping you thrive. I promise.
9. Offspring Papers – My kids bring home lots of paper. There are things that need action, like permission slips and order forms. There are art projects and completed assignments they bring home to share with me. There’s a great deal of it and it’s easy to be overwhelmed. It’s important to release that which no longer serves you, and take the action that is needed. If there are events, put them on the calendar. If there are signatures, go ahead and commit and send the papers back.
As for the memories, each of my children have their own box right at the top of the attic stairs and we put our favorite things inside for safe keeping. I don’t keep the fill in the blank tests and such, as they don’t actually capture much of the children. I keep the papers and the stories they have to write. I keep the things that make me laugh or impress me. I keep things they are particularly proud of too. I’ve always told them that once they got too full, we’d go in and look for things that no longer serve us to release. So far, that hasn’t happened but we still have high school left. We’ll see when we get there.
What’s in your piles?
For each paper, you have to first make a decision about what to do with it–release it, take action on it, or archive it. Then, you have to do it. You have to either get it out of your house, take action (pay it/research it/call about it/do it/write about it/whatever), or find it a sensible home.
It’s not always easy–especially when there are lots of papers–but it is that simple, decide on an action and take it. Decision making and action are the two things that don’t happen when we’re stuck. Then, we get overwhelmed by what’s not happening so we accumulate more, make fewer decisions, and take less action.
As that cycle continues, your hole gets deeper and deeper until you’re here. But, I promise that you have the power to turn this thing around. You just have to check back in. You may even need support but it’s time to come off the bench and get back in the game. Your sanity… your freedom… your life is waiting for you.
So, here are 9 tips to get you started but certainly not a comprehensive list. What else is stacked up around you? Leave your paper challenges here and we’ll play with those next time. If you prefer to you can email me through my website below. And if you’re stuck (and sick of it), check out the program at www.sickofbeingstuck.com.