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Paper, paper and more paper! How to avoid them

Paper is a very important part of everyday life and business. But sometimes, the amount of paperwork can be overwhelming that it becomes a real problem that you have to deal with. Another undesirable concern demanding for your utmost attention.

Here are some tips on how you could prevent and address the problems of too much paper:

1. Become more selective about what to keep and what to get rid of. Keep only those that are needed for current actions or are most likely to be referenced at a later date. This later date should also be defined. You could easily make excuses for keeping things that are not really important by saying that you might need them later—like never! Keep only those you will use.

2. Lessen the volume of paper coming in by going over through mail over the trash, keeping only those papers that require an action or filing. Simply put, don’t let the junk mail make it into your home office. Keep them out!

3. Commit to give time to complete the organization of the papers in your limited space. Then plan to find some time (at least once a week) to process and organize incoming papers. File the papers that are worthy of being kept. Otherwise, throw away all others.

4. Of course, there’s no elaborating the step that you should set up a filing system for paper storage so paper can be easily accessed whenever you need it.

5. Lower the volume of paper coming in by reducing magazine and journal subscriptions to just those that actually get read from cover to cover every month. You may need to review some of your subscriptions and stop subscribing to those that are not that important.

6. Keep papers and publications that are supposed to be read in a location away from the desk top. You may use a tray on a shelf, in a basket near a chair where you’re likely to read, in a briefcase, or anything that you can use to place these papers into. Make sure that these papers are arranged in such a way that the materials and content are not mixed together. You should make sure that you’re able to access them easily and without any hassle.

7. You can actually get rid of magazines and the like monthly by creating deadlines for how long they will be kept in your workspace. Then recycle or throw them out when they reach that deadline.

8. On your desk, keep only those that require immediate action. Those papers can be categorized into actions that must occur immediately and those that can occur later. Those that must occur immediately should be placed where they are most accessible.

Your thoughts

What about you? What do you think of the tips I’ve given to help you manage the paper in your office or in your workspace? Have you had any problems dealing with too much paper? How did you handle it? What did you do exactly?

Let us all know in the comments!

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About the Author

Stephen NellasStephen is part of the Software Jewel team, the company behind Clutterpad and BiP. He's also a regular author for BiP.View all posts by Stephen Nellas →