I have designated January as my personal “paper month”. Some of you are rolling your eyes and others are intrigued and want to hear more! Call me crazy but I love paper. I know that a lot of you feel that paper is your worst enemy. Some of you sense it multiplying every time you turn your back! Personally I am not ready to declare my home as a “paper free” zone yet! Paper represents creativity and information to me. The key to enjoying paper is to have a custom system in place that works for you and your family.
In the month of January, I take the time to reflect about my paper systems and ask myself some of these questions:
- Are my systems working?
- Where does my system break down?
- Where are the piles of paper in my house?
We refer to these piles as “hot spots”. January is the time of year when I go through my filing cabinets and purge/recycle/shred any unwanted paper. As I go through my files, I can also collect and set aside any documents needed for filing my annual tax return. I can get two projects done in one!
Paper will bury us if we don’t have a system . . .
The ultimate goal should be to handle paper only once! Here is an acronym to help. You should pick one of four options when dealing with your paper:
R – Read
A – Act on
F – File
Let me explain each of these in more detail:
R- Read Read the paper right way (then recycle or shred) or put it in a “to read” file folder so that you have those papers all together to read when you have some extra time. This file folder can be brought along when you may have a couple of minutes of “waiting” time, for example, to a doctor’s appointment or when you are waiting to pick up a child from hockey.
A – Act on Deal with the paper immediately. For example if you receive an invitation or memo in regard to a meeting – mark it in your calendar, rsvp right away and recycle.
F – File File it in your filing cabinet or in your “temporary paper” system. One of our favourite catch phrases – “File it, don’t pile it!” Beware of this category – the statistic is we never look at 80% of what we file.
T – Toss Please open your mail near a recycling bin and dispose of the envelope or junk mail immediately.
So remember, deal with paper once!!! The statistic is that on average, we handle paper 9 times before we deal with it!
Another catch phrase – “Keep up or it will heap up!”
Today, I challenge you to grab a “hot spot” from your house and use RAFT to eliminate the pile completely!!
If you would benefit from some side by side help and encouragement then Heart of the Matter would love to be your success partners. Mention this blog and get 15% off your project!
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