I know getting your paper situation sorted can sometimes be overwhelming or daunting – especially if you’ve let it sit on the back burner for a while and maybe have some guilt or shame around the state that it’s in.
As a professional organizer and coach who helps people get their homes and offices in order, I have learned a ton of great tips and tricks over the years to tackle paper overwhelm.
In this blog post, I’m sharing some of my best start-up tips to help get you on the road to a sweet paper system that works for you. So let’s get into it!
Gather It All Up
First things first. You need to gather your documents so you have an idea of what you’re working with. This is the initial prep work that you need to do. No more little bits of paper laying in the bottom of your purse, in your bedroom, or in the trunk of your car. It all goes into one spot…and noooo, you can’t call the recycling bin the one spot you’re putting it all.
Grab a basket and put it all in there, so even if you do nothing else with it, you now have one place to look when you need something.
This is your first step to quitting overwhelm. It’s going to feel like movement in the right direction.
I hear from people looking to get organized that they worry about going paperless. I get it. For some of us, having something tangible that we can hold, scribble on, highlight, and physically file away is important to feeling organized.
You don’t need to go paperless to get organized. Yes, there are some things that you can keep online, but you can have a hybrid of electronic documents and paper ones and still have your files organized and easy to access.
So when you start to get organized, take a good look at the various types of paper in your life, and decide if you’d prefer to go paperless or if you like the hard copies. This is about finding what works for you.
Set Aside Time
Whether you’re what I call a Blind Betty, Later Lisa, or a Saver Sally (I’ll explain more about those terms in another blog post!) I tell these clients to set aside time to start paying attention to their paper and stick to it.
Even if it’s 20 minutes, every Sunday where you take on one task and then don’t revisit your papers for another week, setting aside time so you can start plugging away at your papers is so important.
Hell, you can even reward yourself when you’re done (helloooo, tacos, and margaritas).
But like anything worth doing, you need to make time for this and stick to it.
But Don’t Get Discouraged
I know I just told you to make time for organizing your papers and to stick to it. But life also sometimes gets in the way of that and if one week you just don’t have the time or energy to dig into this, then give yourself permission to let it go and pick it back up when you can.
I think it’s far more effective to procrastinate for a week and get into a good headspace where you’re ready to start looking at things again than to get totally defeated by not sticking to a perfect schedule and giving up on organization entirely.
At The End of The Day…
Organization doesn’t happen in a day and there are no perfect solutions. Think progress instead of perfection and go a little easy on yourself.
Thanks for reading!