“But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40
Over the last few weeks, we have discussed the ultimate goal of stopping the piles of paper around your work space from growing any higher (or wider). This is the first step to finally getting in control of something that has been perhaps getting out of control. How have you been doing with your commitment of managing the numerous papers and pages you need to handle in a typical work day? Have you been tempted to put something aside (in another pile) until you deal with it because you were not sure what category it fell in to? If so, it is time to adopt a “Do it or Ditch it” approach.
The “Ditch it” is very easy: you know you don’t need it, want it or have an interest in it. Keep a garbage can close to your desk and “ditch it.”
The “Do it” takes more thought but is easier to handle if you categorize the different options. For instance, if you are not going to “Ditch it” that you have to do something with it. Piling it and forgetting about it is no longer an option. The “Do it” approach is the decision what you are going to do with that piece of mail, correspondence, article or something that has been copied for you. Depending on the work you do, the responsibilities you have and what your future plans are, you may have different categories than someone else.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunities and responsibilities which are part of my work day. You have said in Your Word that “… all things should be done decently and in order.” Help me to wisely manage the many kinds of papers that daily come across my desk. Help me to put behind habits and behaviors which have contributed to time inefficiency and help me to move forward with an orderly system of management. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Monday: Are you having difficulty dealing with paperwork in a timely manner? Time management experts say if you can deal with something in 1 to 2 minutes, then do just that. However, make sure it does not interfere with something more urgent.
Tuesday: Is there paperwork you have difficulty making decisions about because you do not have all the information? Recognize that you cannot always finalize each piece of paper every time. You do need a process for keeping it in a reserved spot to be dealt with in a timely manner. Where can you designate this spot in your office? It could be an inbox on your desk or a file in an obvious place.
Wednesday: in the busyness of your day, are you tempted to “pile and not file?” It takes much less time to file documents as you finish with them then to try to find a few hours to file a massive pile. This week, make sure you do not have any files that have not been filed at the end of each day. However, if you have had a crazy day, it may be something you need to delegate as ongoing task for someone if this is a continuing issue. The important thing is to devise a system that will work. What would that look like for your work situation?
Thursday: As an entrepreneur, owner, manager, marketing expert or someone in charge of research and development, there will always be ideas that pop into your head on how to improve your business. Some of these are prompted by the mail coming across your desk. You may not want to “ditch” this as you would like to have it for a potential future project. File it properly under “Future Projects” and make sure you set a time to review it and set a meeting to take it to the next step. What is something you have on the back of your mind you would like to do but do not have the time right now or it is not a priority. Set a specific time to set up a meeting with appropriate members of your team to discuss it.
Friday: A common pile of paper includes unread articles, magazines and work of others. These usually fall into the important but not urgent category and therefore often do not get attended to. If you have not already, then designate a system of “reading time” when you set a specific day and time to go through this paperwork. You may not always be able to keep the same schedule and may need to review this week by week. You may be able to designate 20 minutes every week day and one hour on the weekend. It does not matter when but the important thing is to plan ahead and schedule it as you would schedule a meeting. This coming week, what will work for you to start designating this time?
Have a great week!
Bonny, Christian Women at Work