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How to Organize Your Paperwork to Boost Productivity

How to Organize Your Paperwork to Boost Productivity

    It’s so easy to get buried under the press of paper, most of which is just not important! All you have to do is ignore incoming paper for a week or two and you’re sunk.

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    Even if you have a job where most of your work is done online, you’ve probably still got letters, periodicals, inter-office memos, contracts, and other important pieces of paperwork that are piling up in your office.

    For years I have been working to figure out the best way to deal with the influx of paper into my home. I’m one of the lucky ones who does not have the school paper nightmare that comes with having children. But, running a business from home can feel like having a very big child!

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    I’ve gotten good about doing an initial daily paper sort in the kitchen, which usually results in a chunk of papers being recycled and the majority of them making their way to the in-box of my desk. There they are corralled until the weekend when I have time to seriously consider their importance and take action.

    I once had the intention of taking action on paper every day, filing those pages that I really might reference some day. But, as life would have it, I just got too busy to file every day. I was lucky if I responded to email once a day, much less did something as exciting as filing papers. Now all that paper waits until Sunday when I can sit down, assess my reality, sort, pitch, file and make plans for the next week.

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    I’ve found that a weekly review of everything on my desk and in my in-box, which is actually a clean up, throw out, prioritize and planning session, really serves me very well. The amount of paper that gathers in that six day period is still manageable and processing it helps me get clear about my priorities for the next week. Out of that stack of papers come new to-do items that I add to my running list, papers to be filed, and papers to recycle. By the end of my clean up and review session I know just what I must do that day, what errands I need to run during the week, and where I stand on larger projects. I feel grounded and ready to take action.

    The biggest challenge is getting started with the week session. The task always feels enormous to me, even when there aren’t large volumes of paper. What’s that about? I think it’s about making a commitment to my own order, getting clear about my reality. It’s easier to live in a vague la la land than to face time obligations and challenges. I manage to push past my resistance by reminding myself how good I feel when once again I am grounded with a clear picture and plan for the upcoming week. It’s a mental exercise to get me to pick up the first piece of paper. Once I get going the positive feelings that come from getting organized motivate me to keep going.

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    If you hate paper and continually find yourself buried in a mess of papers of your own making, try the weekly sort, pitch and prioritize method. Make a commitment to bite the paper bullet once a week and watch your paper misery ease and your feeling of empowerment soar. It takes much less time to do than you think it will. If you persist in doing a weekly cleanup, no longer will you be the victim of paper insanity. You’ll be in charge of your paper. People who control their paper are better able to control every other aspect of their lives. That could be you!

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    Last Updated on June 1, 2021

    7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

    7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

    “Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

    “Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

    As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

    Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

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    The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

    To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

    1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

    Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

    “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

    2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

    Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

    3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

    If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

    It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

    4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

    One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

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    If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

    5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

    It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

    If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

    Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

    If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

    7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

    If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

    So, How To Get out of Busyness?

    Take a look at this video:

    And these articles to help you get unstuck:

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    Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

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