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Craft Your Own Paper Management System

Democrat and Chronicle, 7/13/10
Dorothy Madden

Are you inundated with paper and thinking of going paperless? Is it even possible? Managing piles of paper is a major challenge for nearly everyone in the workplace. Did you know that since the Internet began, printing and paper usage has increased 40 percent? E-mails, documents and information from the Web all present a printing temptation. Today it is common to see a message at the end of e-mails asking you to consider the environment and think before printing. It is a reminder that often goes unheeded. And there are times you really do need to print.

Printing can lead to piling. Piling can lead to clutter. There are some who say a cluttered desk represents a cluttered mind. Others disagree because they can find exactly what they're looking for in their piles. It may take some time and frenzy, but they find it.

Clutter is nothing but postponed decisions. When you print a document, a decision needs to be made about what to do with it. Does it need to be kept temporarily or forever? Does it need to be acted upon or filed? Where should it be placed so it can be easily retrieved?

To prevent becoming overwhelmed and buried with paper clutter, creating a paper management system is essential. There are many products for managing paper: folders, files, vertical racks, stacking trays and more. And there are many methods for organizing paper: by category, alphabetically, color-coding and more. Whatever system you choose, it is important that it works for you. And if others share documents, it needs to work for them as well.

Being organized is finding what you need, when you need it, and liking your space. You can achieve this by making decisions and creating a good paper management system that works for you.