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Chapter 9. Getting Your Act Together > Organizational Rules to Keep from Coming... - Pg. 88

Getting Your Act Together 88 Paper Shuffling 101 Now that I knew where to go, I needed to find my health insurance card because I knew the recep- tionist would ask to see it. It wasn't in my wallet. The clock was ticking, and panic was setting in. "Why didn't I look for it before now?" I asked myself in disgust. Because I had a new health plan, I had never used the card before and didn't even know what it looked like, much less where it was. Then, I vaguely remembered getting an envelope in the mail in recent weeks that might have had the card in it. I sorted through my To Do: Non-urgent stacking tray, the place where I put mail and other papers that need to be dealt with but that can wait. (Stacking trays and sorting mail are de- scribed in more detail in Chapter 10, "A Crash Course in Getting Organized.") Sure enough, there was a packet from the insurance company with my card in it. I remembered I had stuck it there because I had said to myself, "I'm too busy writing a book to deal with this now, and I won't need it any time soon." The moral of this story:You're never too busy to do something important. Taking a little time to deal with an important matter will save you a lot of time down the road. The minute you get an important paper in your hands, deal with it. Read it, respond to it, pass it on to the appropriate person, file it in a place where you can find it later, or do whatever action the paper calls for. Papers that don't require immediate action get sorted into stacking trays, plastic trays that serve as action launching pads. You have a tray for things to read, one for bills to pay, another for things to file, and so forth. By sorting paper into these trays, you put it in a place where it won't get lost, and you make it easy to find and take action on these papers a few days or weeks later. More details on how to set up and use stacking trays are provided in the "Ode to Stacking Trays" section of Chapter 10.