1. Handle paper only once
And if that is not possible, at least try to move it one step closer to completion every time you do pick it up.
2. Make decisions now
Don’t put things down ‘for now’. Commit yourself to decide what to do with each piece of paper immediately.
3. Clear out your in-box for 15 minutes each day
Don’t turn your ‘in-box’, into a ‘procrastinator tray’.
4. Sort by Category
Mail and e-mail should be sorted into categories. Try sorting ‘by Priority’, ‘by Action’ or ‘by Date’
5. Write notes in the right place
Numerous scraps of paper and notes will only serve to frustrate you. Choose one place to keep notes, and if they pertain to a client folder or project, put the notes in the proper file as soon as possible.
6. Get real about what you can read
Limit subscriptions, clip articles out if you want to keep it and recycle the rest of the periodical right away. Be realistic about how much you can actually read too.
7. Purge papers regularly
Twice a year purges will do wonders to keep the volume down. Take time to thin out files that contain unimportant notes, drafts and other non-essential information.
8. Keep file systems logical and easy to use
Creating a Dewey Decimal coded system or trying to develop some mythical ‘Perfect’ system is an urge you should resist.