I have a paper problem. Silverfish see me coming and yell out – PARTÉE!
The stacks of paper on my desk seem to multiply overnight. They even grow when I go out to lunch, or step away for an hour or so. And I never seem to know what to do with them.
I will spend 2 or 3 hours sorting them into piles:
The Recycle pile isn’t my issue – that gets taken out every couple of days and good riddance too!
But the Action, File and Read piles…well, let’s just say they’ve become like old friends and are getting way too familiar with me. In fact, they appear to have moved in and are taking over my office!
Don’t touch that paper! (more than once)
Double handling. It’s what those in the ‘organisation’ business call people who look at documents (physical or electronic) more than once without actioning them. It is a huge waste of time and it reduces your productivity in direct proportion to the way it increases your stress levels.
Anyone who has an out-of-control desk can confirm that this is true.
Polka-Dot your way to organisation
I read a tip a couple of days ago that I plan on using to determine how big my ‘double handling’ problem really is and to help get it under control. It’s simple and it won’t take any time at all but it may help me to figure out whether I really do need to keep those pages or if they can just be recycled.
Every time I look at a document, I will put a dot in the corner of the page. If I’m reading an email, I will flag it if I don’t file it or delete it on the spot (all email programs have the ability to flag or mark a message so you can later sort out those with the flags to come up to the top of your inbox).
If my documents begin to look like they have a bad case of the measles or my inbox starts signalling me like a ship at sea, then I know that I need to get serious and make some decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.
And reducing clutter – online or up-close and personal – is a fabulous way to relieve stress and let you breathe freely again.
By Wynn Grossman
For the Stress to Strength team