Paper! The root of all evil as I like to say. These little 8×11 sheets cause people so much anxiety. If not handled on a regular basis, they breed like bunnies. They attract dust and end up with coffee spilled on them.
Here are some reasons we have paper problems:
1. We are afraid of losing information
2. We don’t know what we need to keep
3. We don’t have a system set up
In my experience, I find that we over think how we handle our paper. We keep way too much of it, and most of the time its not categorized in a way in which we can retrieve it. The night I left my left sales job, I cleared out all the paper associated with it. It ended up filling three large contractor bags. I just let it go. It was part of my past.
Here are some steps for getting your paper under control:
1. What do you need. If you are a W2 employee then you need to save very little paper. If you are a 1099 that is a different story. You need to keep many different receipts to write off. You can either control them in paper status in files or an accordian box or scan them on your computer.
2. Set up a filing system for the other things you need/want to keep. Make sure that each file has is clearly labeled. This should contain current things you need to access.
3. Set up an archive system. This system should hold your older taxes, mortgage papaers, and legal papers.
4. Set up additional archives for other important things such as divorce papers, medical history, or work history.
5. Action items are very important as well. When paper comes in, it should have a place to go even if you don’t have time to handle it immediately. The action files should be titled as BILLS TO PAY, TO DO, SOCIAL, PENDING, and any other category that you find yourself handling on a repeat basis.
The most important things you can do to get your paper under control is to limit the incoming. This includes:
1. unsubscribing for catalogs
2. going paperless with your bills and financial statements
Also you need to process your paper on a regular basis. When you are done with a project or piece of paper- file it or let it go. Don’t let those piles overtake your office!!
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