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Chapter 10. Quick Review, Charts and Che... > Keep the Clutter Away, Permanently

Keep the Clutter Away, Permanently

  • Decide immediately. Commit yourself to making decisions now about what to do with each piece of paper.

  • Ask yourself, “Do I really need it?” If so, file the document at once in the broadest category to which it refers.

  • If possible, handle paper only once. When that is not possible, each time you touch a piece of paper, move it one step closer to completion.

  • Do not set papers aside to decide later. If it must wait for a decision, place it in a Tickler File to return in one week. After that, make a decision.

  • Spend fifteen minutes, twice a day, clearing out your In Box. Do not let it turn into a holding, aging, or procrastinating tray.

  • Clear off the top of your desk at the end of your day. It completes the day’s work, makes a clean space for you to see the next morning and stops paper build-up.

  • Be realistic about the amount of information you can read and absorb. Limit the number of subscriptions you take, and clip articles as soon as you read them. Throw the rest of the periodical away or recycle it.

  • Keep your organizing system and your files simple, easy and logical. Resist the desire to set up a mini Dewey decimal system or create some mythical “perfect” system.

  • Purge your papers. Regular twice-a-year purges will keep the volume down. Whenever a file moves from active to inactive status, take the? time to remove the unimportant notes, drafts and nonessential information.

  • Break the habit of writing things down on numerous scraps of paper. Write notes in the appropriate place the first time.

  • Sort incoming mail and e-mail into categories—by priority, by action, or by date.



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