Cluttered desk. This is a common problem in the working area.
We waste time looking for documents, worrying so much that we might lost it already, or rewriting what we already have somewhere…
I think you do not need a perfect or a large filing system…just less files!
Managing your Files
Is it really hard to throw away pieces of paper? Or we are just too afraid that we might need it in the future. Actually we don’t need it at all because we do not have the luxury of time to read it, so we say we’ll look at it later but actually we won’t!
But if we file everything, we can find anything. Try one minute file check. If you cannot even see your desk, you cannot locate a document you do need in the next 60 seconds. Just grab the trash bin because its time to shoot that ball!
You need to justify a decision you have made. For example a supervisor’s instructions, a clear client’s revisions:
1. It explains company’s policies and procedures.
2. It contains information with long term relevance like year-end targets. Rule of thumb. If you can’t think of three situations that you may need to refer to this, throw it out.
It is a commendation for a job well done.
Record the most important information where you are more likely to look for it like planners. To be able to clean that cluttered desk, transfer the names, positions and contact numbers in company letterheads to you Rolodex. Instead of filing a project calendar, write deadlines on your planner. Configure your downloadable software or even your office e-mail system to remind you of important tasks the day before.
Act on It
Many people do the “paper shuffle” and file because they are too busy or distracted to really look at it. Set aside 20 minutes a day for paperwork and maybe the best time is after lunch when you are too sleepy to really work anyway.
After reading the paper force yourself to write down your next steps or plan of action on a Post-it. Stick it on the document itself so you don’t need to reread it. Give yourself one week to complete the task and throw the paper away.
Pass it and Set an Expiry Date
If you head a department, you will be the conduit that receives memos and reports that are actually more relevant to your staff. Give the document and tell them to file it, if you need it you can get it from them; This solves your cluttered desk.
Label Two folders “This Week,”and “This Month.” This is where you keep the documents that only have short-term relevance. Keep those folders in your in-tray and prune them every Friday.