Organize & Energize: Do You File or Pile?
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Are you the type that receives a document that needs to be filed and you file it right away?
Are you the type that lets a pile form and tackle it at the end of the month, if you tackle it at all? Think about your filing style for a moment.
If you are the first type, you probably don’t need to read the rest of this article.
If you are the second type, most will say they are too busy to file. I think people would just rather continue to throw into their piles than to actually spend the time to tackle the project. I think the whole process is too overwhelming for some.
If I see a pile of papers, I will always sit with my client and ask them why the filing has turned into this huge pile. I get a few different answers.
Here are the tops 3 answers I get when a client tries to defend their piles.
1. I have better things to do than file.
I usually will ask them what those things are that are more important at the moment and then it will turn into a conversation about how they function throughout the day. Think about how long it takes you to find a document when you need it. If you filed it when you first touched it, it would be in the filing cabinet and you would locate it immediately! No time wasted.
2. Why file one paper when I can stack all of the filing and tackle all at once?
The paper piles become a distraction. The more distractions you have in your office, the more apt you are you lose focus and reduce your productivity. Visitors coming into your office are going to form an opinion about how you function if there are piles of paper scattered all over your office.
3. I’m too busy to file right now.
If you have the proper filing systems in place, it should take you less than 1 minute to file a document. If you have those piles that need to be filed away, I can guarantee you will be searching for something that is in those files. If you have a few different piles of paper, now you don’t know which pile it’s in so you’ve just wasted a half an hour searching for a document. It’s going to take you probably a good hour to file those documents when it would have only initially taken you one minute to file it.
Think about how you handle your documents when you receive them and think about how you function throughout the day. Are you creating more work for yourself? Do you have a process to handle every piece of paper that arrives in your office? Do you have working organized systems in place? Take a moment to re-evaluate how you are functioning with your paper and go from being a piler to a filer.
Related Slideshow: 5 Organizing Blunders
Avoid these mistakes and your project will take less time than you expected. You won’t be as stressed or as overwhelmed as you anticipated. You will be amazed at what you have accomplished. You will be motivated and energized to tackle another project.
Not planning ahead
Getting organized is a process and you have to have a plan on how to conquer your project. You can’t tear apart an entire room all at once. You need to break the project down into small pieces. Plan to tackle your project in 3-hour increments. If you work longer than 3 hours at a time, you are setting yourself up for burnout. Plan ahead to try to avoid distractions and stay focused.
Purchasing the incorrect supplies
I know you are excited to get organized, but don’t rush out to the store and purchase products just because you like the way they look. Get organized first. Figure out what you need to contain, and then purchase your container to match the items you need it to hold.
Not letting others know about your system
Once you set up the organized system, you have to get everybody in your home on board. Show them the systems and how you are going to function with this system going forward. Label everything if you must, so everybody gets in the habit of putting items away. Remember, the simpler the system, the easier it’s going to be to maintain.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.