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Get Your Paper Clutter Under Control

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Get Your Paper Clutter Under Control

By Steve Graham,

Got paper clutter?  We’re here to help! If you end up sorting through deep piles of overdue bills, old news and other items, take a few minutes to classify each piece of paper coming across your desk or into your mailbox. It should fall into one of three categories: immediate actions, delayed actions, references and trash.

Immediate Actions: Take a step to deal with any paperwork that requires immediate attention. That doesn’t mean you always have to drop everything to pay a bill or schedule an appointment, but you should take one of four steps:

• If it takes less than two minutes, do it. You’ll spend more than two minutes on the project if you just leave it in the pile and keep glancing at it.

• If it takes more than two minutes, put it in a “next actions” folder, and review the next actions folder daily. This should also include specific, small steps in ongoing projects. For example, “do taxes” is not a next action, but “contact bank for 1099 interest documents” might be a next action.

• Schedule it for action on a specific date, and put it in a dedicated folder for that date (Leave the Office Earlier offers a good system for 43 dated “tickler” folders — one for each month of the year, and one for each of the next 30 days).

Next: delayed actions, references, and trash

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Read more: Crafts & Design, Feng Shui & Organizing, Green Home Decor, Home, Household Hints, Materials & Architecture, , , ,

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1:45AM PST on Mar 7, 2013


5:39AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Deal with it as it arrives.

9:25AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Good tips.

1:54AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Thanks for the tip.

5:57PM PDT on Jun 25, 2011


8:12AM PDT on Jun 2, 2011


10:56PM PDT on May 30, 2011

I need this more than you can imagine.

9:59AM PDT on May 28, 2011

thank you

8:23PM PDT on May 24, 2011

Yep, need to put this to action!

2:06PM PDT on May 24, 2011

I'm glad that i"m a kid who doesn't need to worry about that kind of stuff!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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