Monday, July 29, 2013

Mama-on-days: Taming the Paper Clutter Challenge

Okay, I'm hoping that we are all in the trust tree here.  I'm going to tell you a little secret.

I have little piles of papers in the kitchen, the office, the dining room table and downstairs on the ironing board.  I have about 4 different piles of stuff at my work.  Sometimes I spend my whole day just going through my piles, rearranging them into new piles.  

The problem is that I'm spending more time rearranging and coming up with new piles then I am actually doing something with my paperwork.  A few weeks ago, my coworkers and I attended a GTD (getting things done) webinar.

While definitely geared to corporate America, I found many of the suggestions made sense to me as a Speech language Pathologist (sometimes I am drowning in paperwork) as a mom (how many drawings can one little 4 year old do) and as a manager (how can I remember to follow up with my employees...)

My challenge for this week was to start getting my paperwork in order.  I've tried various systems in the past-my last failed system consisted of four folders:

DO NOW!!! For stuff that needed to be completed within the week
DO LATER!!! For stuff that needed to be done later.
PENDING: For stuff that I was waiting for information from someone on or items like Amazon orders.
TO BE LAMINATED:  I've had Jenna Rayburn's Candytown Phonology in there for awhile.  It's time to get that sucker laminated.  That was an semi-intentional pun.

I made those up, put stuff in them, and then left them there to die.  You might notice that my Do NOW items includes Leap frog incentive stickers.  This system wasn't working for me.  Plus it's hard to pay bills when you have to check 5 different rooms and a 31 bag where you threw some paperwork in when your mom came over.

One of the suggestions from the Webinar was to start a Tickler file.  It's basically files you can set up for everyday of the month where you put information (like Birthday cards, reminders about IEPs, follow up paperwork.)

This week I set up systems at home and at work.  I modified the home one as I didn't think I would need a file for each day of the week.  I bought a document box where I can put all of the Biscuit's artwork.  I also added an inbox where I put all incoming paperwork to be "processed." 

Okay it's a work in progress.  Paint with Water is probably does not need to be processed.  (but totally needs to be done!  I loved paint with water as a child)   

This is how I set up my file system at home.  I color coordinated it based on file type.  This is where I store all of the paperwork that I need to act on later.  I set up a similar system at work based on days.  I'm hopeful this system will work for me.  Check back in a month to see if I've maintained it.  Do you have any great ways to tame the paper clutter?  I'd love to hear them! 

Next week's challenge: Being present.

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