Dealing with Mounting Paperwork

By: Marie Donlon

It’s hard to imagine that in this day and age, people would still be surrounded by so much paper at work. Yet, according to research from NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers), the average worker spends an estimated week each year looking for items that are lost or misplaced among the piles of paper that continue to accumulate on our desks.

A consequence of having a cluttered and untidy desk could be, according to related studies, increased stress levels. As such, people find it difficult to concentrate on their work, thereby affecting productivity.

So how do you take control of an untidy desk filled with years and years of accumulated paperwork?  Experts recommend the following steps for eliminating desk clutter:

  • Organize your clutter into different piles and deal with one small pile each day.

  • Create a filing system for the piles, using color coded folders to make the exercise a bit more creative.

  • Adopt a use it or lose it attitude concerning paperwork. If you don’t use or need the paperwork, discard it.

  • Get out of the habit of taking down important phone numbers or email addresses on scraps of paper. Instead, add that information to a contact list. This will keep your desk clear of clutter while also saving you from spending untold time digging through piles of paper trying to locate misplaced numbers.

  • Deal immediately with paperwork as it hits your desk, whether you file it or discard it.

  • Straighten your desk before you leave the office each evening.

  • Spend five minutes each day chipping away at the pile on your desk.