Twenty years ago we were told our offices would soon be paperless, but here we are still sinking in it! Instead of tossing the paper, we now scan it, file it electronically, AND keep the hard copies. Here’s a couple of interesting facts:
- 80% of papers and information that we keep, we never use (Agency Sales Magazine)
- The average employee in administration wastes two weeks per year retrieving misplaced information from messy desks and files. (The Wall Street Journal)
So we have all this information in two forms, but how much good is it if we can’t find what we need when we need it? Are you looking for a preserver to save your sanity or a raft to stop you from drowning? ? Here’s an acronym for four simple steps to save yourself – R.A.F.T.
REFER – this includes anything that is dependent upon someone else for the next step or needs to be delegated. Gather all of your “refer” items and send them to the responsible person to handle. If you do this in email, take those emails and color-code or label them as “Waiting for a Reply or Item” and then you can follow-up easily. (Gmail is great for this!)
ACT – these items you need to work on alone. The first step is gathering your active items together and summarizing for deadlines and priorities. Once you have that done, I recommend looking at your desk to see if there are any papers that can be handled in 2 minutes or less! Getting rid of clutter is the first step and it’s so encouraging!
FILE – Don’t wait until your filing system is perfect, just start from where you are and use whatever system is logical for you until you have either time or help to refine or customize a system for you.
TOSS – You may want to contact a CPA or professional organizer about a records retention. If not, there’s a lot of great information on the internet. For everything else, refer, act, file or toss it!
Think you don’t have time to get the paper organized? Than ask yourself, “Do I have more time next month to feel frustrated and more time to waste looking for things?”
Wouldn’t it be better to feel like this!
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