Have you ever wondered why we get and keep all the paper that we do? I do all the time. What are we afraid of if we don’t have it? Are we missing out on something? Will something bad happen if we don’t have it? Will you be able to find it again if you file it?
There are three things to keep in mind when you need to file your paperwork. If you have piles and piles and you don’t know where anything is, consider these concepts.
Tip One: Identify why you need to keep your paperwork organized. What benefit will it bring you? Knowing the reason you do something can be a big motivator. Many people find that they save time by having a home for everything and everything in its place. If you know what to keep and what to let go of, you can have a certain peace of mind, you do not need to continue to ask yourself if you need something.
Tip Two: Pre-sort your paperwork using the FAR method. File, Action and Recycle. File the paperwork you need to archive or need to keep for reference – remember that much information can be found on the internet. Action items are those items you need to take action on. Keep these separate from your filing in a hot file. Reduce and recycle the rest – get off mailing lists of companies that you will never purchase from and recycle the rest.
Tip Three: Chose one way to organize your paperwork and stick to it! If you’re not sure which type of system to use, use your dominant Processing Style to your advantage. Your Processing Style, also called learning style, influences how you process information in the world. People are familiar with three main processing styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. But there are many different ways to process information, including emotional, intuitive, cognitive, verbal, and more. People do not usually process information only in one style, they usually use a combination of styles, but some will be more dominant than others. If you know your strengths, you can use organizing strategies that utilize that style. Some questions to ask yourself to find your preference:
- Are you a visual processor? Use color in your filing system, using one color for each major category.
- Are you an auditory processor? Talk out loud as you file – you’ll remember where you put things more effectively.
- Are you a kinesthetic processor? Place your main categories in different locations to help differentiate files.
- Are you an intuitive processor?
Trust your instincts – you’ll do what’s best for you.