Today’s Productivity Tip: How to Get Ahead of Your Paperwork

paper monster Jumpstart Monday | Get your week off to a great start with the Day-Timer blog. Each Monday we’re going to feature a new tip to help you gain a more productive week at work and at home.
Today’s tip: Get ahead of your paperwork

Today we’re on the hunt for that elusive tree-born beast that is indigenous to all 50 US States and most nations worldwide: the paper monster. Piles of paper that clog up your workflow and complicate your workspace.

While you may never eliminate this productivity pest from your business or home office, there is a way to keep it from overwhelming you.

Try This:

Get ahead of your paper piles by making a weekly gameplan for processing your paperwork. Use these crucial steps:

  • Collect all incoming documents in one single inbox, which you will empty by day’s end
  • Schedule task time each day to process the various reports, forms, mail, memos, catalogs, articles, proofs, and newsletters that come in
  • Minimize your pile through two types of decisions: 1) skim and recycle; or 2) file and follow-up
  • Follow-up on paperwork by creating a dated task in your planner, or by adding it to your master task list
  • Create a “Read Later” file, and keep it handy for downtime moments like waiting lines, airline travel, and breaks
  • Limit incoming paper by encouraging a digital workflow amongst your work team, and by opting out of direct mail and catalog lists

Here’s Why:

Paper piles create a daunting physical presence that can have a negative impact on your mindset. Things feel undone and become quickly overwhelming.

Having a weekly gameplan keeps your paper piles from getting out of hand, and will ensure that nothing gets overlooked, misfiled or slips through the cracks.

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[photo by lotyloty]

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at

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