Most of us have lots of loose papers on our desks. Here are the two most common types and what to do with them.
The hastily scribbled note on a Post-It or scratch paper – these will usually fall into one of three categories:
· Action – mark a date for follow-up and file in a tickler file. A tickler file can be physical folders for each day of the week and each month of the year, or combine the notes and type them into an electronic planner that will remind you on the day the action is required.
· Filing – place in a “To Be Filed” folder and spend a few minutes each day or 15 minutes at the end of the week putting things away – this includes addresses and phone numbers for the Rolodex, project notes, etc.
· Ideas – these are usually associated with a specific project you are working on. Paper clip the note to the front of the project file so you can think more about it when you’re ready to work on that project.
To do lists – the long and short of lists is that one covering everything can be overwhelming. Start a long list of projects and ideas you want to accomplish. This is your master list. Set flexible dates for the completion of each project. Keep this list in a file and handy, refer to it often and add to it as necessary. At the end of each work day, spend a few minutes compiling a realistic list of what you plan to accomplish the next day. Check off each item as you go and, at the end of the day, transfer any unfinished tasks to the next day’s business. Use one specific steno pad for the daily list so you will have a log of your activities in one handy place.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be able to see the forest AND the trees!