Overtaken by ‘paper’? For many of us it is worse than any other five-letter word. It’s because paper can weigh you down and hold you back. Getting rid of paper and other stuff is a spring cleaning for the soul that will make you more productive. Here’s why.
►Let go of your fear and depart from the comfort zone.
You might have noticed that when you don’t feel in your comfort zone you need to have something in writing to hold on to. You can reduce complexity by having a plan or calendar of events on the wall. You might reduce your stage fright by writing down and scripting speeches and conference calls.
What it means to let go is that you need to remember more but also that you focus on what’s really important. In the name of productivity I am trying to avoid tasks that do not add value to my business or my clients. In the old days we used to spend hours sorting and deleting emails or filing documents. Being a business owner now I am trying to reduce such work to a bare minimum as I have found out that if I cannot find something it is usually mainly because I am stressed and frantically look for it. In normal mode I find all my documents on the laptop by working with the search function. I don’t need to file documentation on certain topics because most of it can be found online. If you need a filing system for collaboration make it simple and self-explanatory.
►Simplify and standardize by reducing clutter.
Simplifying can also be done at home. I don’t have an extensive wardrobe. Reading articles on productivity made me standardize my clothes even more so I don’t have to take decisions about what to wear. I also place matching clothes together on the rack.
►Use color codes, the three-box system and laminated signs to sort your office.
In our office I use a very clean and color-coded physical filing system. It helps me find files that I need to see printed. It also helps me to grab the right file when I am on my way to a client. Most of the time I work without paper though. The three-box system is very simple. You need to have three boxes and give them three functions: box 1: bin / recycling, box 2: donations and box 3: treasures. You need to ensure that you go to throw away the bin right away. The treasures you can put in a box and leave them there until your next spring cleaning.
►Take the first step by sorting for half an hour a day.
One important tip when you start to work on this process is to limit it to half an hour a day. Set the clock and reward yourself afterwards for example by buying yourself a bunch of flowers.
►Clutter is equivalent to emotional baggage.
Letting go of clutter means to learn to rely more on your brain. Tell us what you do to sort out your clutter and find order in your life!
Read this related blog post.