Paper arrives in tides of mail every day and must be conquered to prevent loss of important papers that require action. Sources of inbound mail can be managed and even eliminated through some specific efforts to reduce the floods. Action is required to reduce the amount of paper in the office because of the time required to manage the organization and use of the paper. One major source of paper is the internal printing activities of employees. Avoid the temptation to print information that can be accessed online. Follow these tips to reduce the amount of paper that must be managed and organize what must be kept.
1. Know what to keep
The major reason people keep too much paper is because they anticipate needing something later. Ask the accountant, attorney, and financial advisor what copies must be kept and purge the rest. Most paper can be recreated if necessary so keeping copies of everything is not necessary.
2. Separate short-term and long-term
Legal papers and insurance documents must be kept, but having a separate place for these types of papers reduces the size of the files. A fire-proof safe is the best option for the irreplaceable documents. Another option is a safe deposit box at the bank if natural disasters are common in the area.
3. Organize existing files
Schedule a day to purge the existing files and organize the remaining paper. Make a meaningful system and create a master sheet for easy reference. Recycle the paper that does not contain business identifiers and important information. Shred everything that contains this information.
4. Go paperless
Choose electronic billing wherever possible and eliminate copies of bank statements and other monthly. Set up electronic reminders for bill due dates. Contact vendors to discover which ones will issue only electronic statements and bills.
5. Manage the tide
If magazines and catalogs are arriving but never read, cancel the subscriptions and donate the old copies to a salon, senior center, or physician’s office. Carefully evaluate every piece of mail that arrives and seek to eliminate it.
6. Handle once
When the mail arrives each day, sort it immediately without setting it down. Throw away anything that does not require action and file documents that simply need filing. Avoid setting the mail aside for later because more mail is coming tomorrow.
7. Schedule time
Have a specific time each week designated for organizing the office space and putting away the paper. As the files become more manageable, this time can be used to organize the email and electronic tasks that demand attention.
8. Shred immediately
Keep the shredder within reach and destroy all documents that contain personal information. Refuse to create a shred box because that habit makes another pile of paper that must be dealt with later. A shredding service is good option for certain types of businesses that are required to destroy large amounts of paper each week.
9. Expect to win
The goal must be a clean desk and organized office. Accepting less than perfection will allow paper to win the war. Some people are so organized they can handle a daily effort to stay organized, but most require a reminder to beat back the tide of paper each week. Winning the battle is easier after the initial setup activities have been completed and other paper is simply added to the established framework.
10. Use small increments
Rather than scheduling large blocks of time each month, take some time each week to organize and get ready for the work activities that bring in money. Work consistently in the personal work area to manage the paper that accumulates without realizing what is happening.
Once the filing system is purged, employees can participate in maintaining the uncluttered appearance of the office. Require everyone to participate by organizing their own workspace and accessing the common work area according to the filing system without losing important documents. Some businesses will hire a young person to maintain the filing because this is a good entry-level position that benefits the entire office. When the files are kept organized, other duties become easier and less time is spent looking for a piece of paper.
Ashvini’s comment : Did you like these wonderful tips? I face the problem of excess paper. Do you? What else do you do to manage your paperwork?