Tag Archives: desk

The Chaos of Business Card Collections

We’ve all been guilty of it – hanging onto business cards that somehow end up on dresser tops, stashed in drawers, or floating around on counters. We sort of know we probably don’t need them but there’s a nagging sense of importance about them that makes them seem valuable. So, we neaten the pile or shove them back in the drawer and forget about them for a while.

Why are you keeping them?

Managing clutter is all about making conscious choices.  The first step to getting a handle on those stacks is to take a clear look at your motivations for hanging onto them:

  • You may want to use that person’s services
  • Something you want to do someday
  • Somebody you want to network with
  • Neighborhood services
  • Cards of services you use regularly
  • Nostalgia – cards of family members, cards of your past careers
  • Cards whose designs you like

Figuring out why you’re keeping them helps you get clarity on how relevant the info actually is. That informs whether you really want to continue to keep them and how you store them. Part of what makes business cards a less precious resource than we think is there are so many ways other ways to find services and people – Facebook, Yelp, list serves, LinkedIn, Google… put in bits of information into a search tool and have that person show up.

After you do a serious purge of the stacks its time to decide how to store the keepers.

Store for easy retrieval

Ways to store them

  • Electronically – scan or enter into your favorite digital address book tool
  • In a mini-file box
  • Rubber-banded in a drawer or on a shelf
  • In a rolodex
  • Binder sleeves designed for business cards
  • File in a resource section of your filing system (can attach card to larger piece of paper)

Make them useful

If you are keeping cards, it can also be helpful to jot a few notes of relevant info to help you remember why you have the card.  Write on back (have a sharpie close by):

  • Next actions/promises you made to them
    • Where you met them
    • Your follow-up plan
  • Interesting fact about the person (their dog’s name, for example)
  • What you have in common with them
  • Who you both know
  • Key words (name and date of event, category of contact)

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It’s perfectly fine to hang onto cards you may not actually need or use — so long as the stacks of cards don’t stress you out and don’t impact your usable space. If they impact your peace of mind or are getting in the way – take action to clear the clutter.

When you browse through your business card hoard, what is the wackiest card you find?

 

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Filed under Business Organizing, Decluttering, Memorabilia, Office, organizing, Paper, Products, Strategies

Dedicating Space for Household Management

homeoffice

Do you find your household paperwork doesn’t have a home? Is your bedroom getting used for stashing unmanaged mail? Do you have papers and mail all over the house? Are you frustrated that your home never looks tidy? Many people use a large portion of their kitchen counter to manage notes and mail…and it spills over from there. But the kitchen counter space often doesn’t provide enough room for a tidy work space.

All these scenarios point to the importance of dedicating a space for a household management center.

Location

The ideal location for a household management center is close to where this work usually gets done. Kitchen, dining room, living room are very common areas. Look where your paper is accumulating and see if you can dedicate a bit of space to make it an “official” work area. Active projects need to be out and accessible where you will really work on them. Where does the work actually get done?

If you have a more remote home office but don’t find yourself staging the mail and active projects there, you might find paper clutter creeping into the living space. It would be appropriate to create an active work station more centrally and store overflow and permanent files in the office. For example, if you find yourself most often sitting on your couch paying bills online, can you create a space there to catch incoming bills?

The Critical Bits:

  • Active projects: to-do’s and bills to pay
  • Active reference: family schedules and phone lists
  • Basic office supplies (stamps, envelopes, paperclips, post its)
  • Dedicated containers to get the recycling and shredding out of the way and off the countertop

Nice to Have Nearby:

  • Printer – can be hidden or made wireless so it can be stored in a back room or closet
  • Main household filing system – including past years taxes and permanent records
  • Overstock office supplies
  • Kids’ art portfolios

Instead of berating yourself for being messy, embrace the idea that household management needs dedicated space. And give yourself the gift of organization.

 

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Filed under Decluttering, home organizing, homework, Kitchen, Living Room, Office, organizing, Paper, paper organizing, Perspective, Storage, Work

The A.R.T. of Clearing Paper Piles

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Does this dining room table look inviting?

Have you ever your faced dining room table or kitchen counter covered in paper, taken one look and turned around to find something else to do? Planning to host Thanksgiving dinner by shoving the piles into bags and sticking it in the closet to deal with “later?”

Despite the appearance of being hundreds of items, all paper piles boil down to only 3 types of items: action, reference, or trash.

Action

These are items that need actual action – the “To-Dos.” Bills to pay, calls to make, items to research, forms to return. There are many ways to store this kind of paper but generally they need to be very accessible and fairly visible. For many folks storing them in a filing cabinet is too “out of sight, out of mind.”

Reference

These are items that are purely informational that you want to keep for reference either short or long term:

  • Insurance policies, medical records, financial, tax related, legal, etc.
  • Travel, art, leisure, self growth, parenting, job ideas, etc.

These can take the form of clippings, articles, printouts, and statements, mailed documents, books or magazines. Books and magazines are best stored on a bookshelf, loose papers are best stored in a filing cabinet. Freedom Filer created this concept of “Simplify With The Art Of Filing™” which is a great option for handling all of your reference files.

Trash

Self-explanatory! Shredding, recycling, garbage. It can be helpful to sort your incoming mail while standing over recycling & shredding bags. The quicker it goes out, the less pile-up of true junk happens.

Not being sure if you need to keep something often creates stress, anxiety, and confusion. Check out our prior post: Paper: to Keep or Toss? Problem Solved.

Try This!

Set the timer for 15 minutes and see how far you get with this method.  Enjoy the leftovers from your family meal rather than the aftermath from a hasty clean-up.

 

 

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Filed under Decluttering, home organizing, homework, Office, organizing, Paper, paper organizing, Products, Strategies

Fear Factor: Papers You Don’t Think You Can Handle

In the spirit of Halloween we continue the discussion of how to banish the fears that keep us from starting organizing projects.

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Fear #2: Papers You Don’t Think You Can Handle

Imagine this scenario: you get a thick envelope in the mail from your attorney…aaack! You don’t want to deal with it. You throw it in a pile, in a remote drawer or just leave it in your “in-box”.

If you’re lucky, days (or months) later, you get a call from your attorney’s office. “Did you get the papers we sent to you to fill out? They are time sensitive. “ If you’re not lucky, you’ll never hear from them again.

This is the kind of stuff that populates that scary file drawer or mail pile. It’s overwhelming, you don’t understand it all, and you know you’re going to have to THINK to figure out what to do next. Everyone seems to have an area like this; an “I can’t deal with this pile.”

Fear banishing strategies:

  1. Grab someone’s hand and tackle the pile together
  2. Pour a shot or two of whiskey and dive in
  3. Call your attorney and ask them to walk you through it
  4. Set a timer and commit to spending 10 minutes looking through the drawer
  5. Sign up for a “get it done” session with a coach, an organizer, a friend
  6. Break down the project into bite-sized chunks.
  7. Write down in advance –before you even look in the drawer or deconstruct the pile – what you “think” you have to do …providing a framework with which to sort the pieces of information

The project may be more than you can handle. But unless you dip your toe in, you may never know.  Asking for help, even to break open the drawer or pry apart the envelope is a valid strategy!

Next up…tackling those things that conjure up ghosts from the past…

 

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Filed under Decluttering, disorganization, Office, organizing, Paper, Perspective, professional organizer, Strategies, Work

Overwhelmed with Paper?

Check out our YouTube video!

Check out our YouTube video!

The start of a new year is the perfect time to set up a new way to handle the constant flow of incoming paper. If you often feel frustrated or overwhelmed with paper and wonder where to put things, you aren’t alone!

For years now we’ve been using FreedomFiler® with clients. We love this system because it really teaches clients what they  need to keep and for how long.

The beauty of the FreedomFiler® system is that it does the work of making these decisions for you. It is designed to cycle papers OUT of the files – forever eliminating the need to set aside time to “purge the filing cabinet”.

FreedomFiler® is made up of 4 color-coded sections:

  • GREEN for monthly miscellaneous transactions
  • BLUE for tax-related transactions
  • RED for permanent family and property records
  • ORANGE/YELLOW for current policies, agreements
  • You may set up an optional fifth section in PURPLE, for saving literature, articles, and notes

When filing papers with FreedomFiler®, you only have to figure out what kind of paper you are holding; that determines which color group it gets filed in and the color group will determine how long it’s kept.

To use the system ask 4 simple questions

  1. Does this paper require immediate action or follow-up?
  2. Can I use this paper for taxes?
  3. Is this a vital record belonging to a person or an asset?
  4. Is this a newer version of an existing document?

Click the graphic below to see how it works:

Freedom Filer makes filing easy

Could it be that easy?  YES! Check out our short video intro to give you a taste.

If you use FreedomFiler® share your experience.  If you have a question, share that too!

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Filed under General Organizing, Office, Paper, Work

Paper: to Keep or Toss? Problem Solved

Using Freedom Filer® takes the guesswork out of paper filing

Your Filing is Finished!

“What do I need to keep and how long should I keep it?”

This is one of the most asked questions we get from clients around their papers.

For years now we’ve been using FreedomFiler® with clients. We love this system because it really teaches clients exactly that – what do you need to keep and for how long?

The beauty of the FreedomFiler® system is that it does the work of making these decisions for you. It is designed to cycle papers OUT of the files – forever eliminating the need to set aside time to “purge the filing cabinet”.

FreedomFiler® is made up of 4 color-coded sections:

  • GREEN for monthly miscellaneous transactions
  • BLUE for tax-related transactions
  • RED for permanent family and property records
  • ORANGE/YELLOW for current policies, agreements
  • You may set up an optional fifth section in PURPLE, for saving literature, articles, and notes

When filing papers with FreedomFiler®, you only have to figure out what kind of paper you are holding; that determines which color group it gets filed in and the color group will determine how long it’s kept.

To use the system ask 4 simple questions

  1. Does this paper require immediate action or follow-up?
  2. Can I use this paper for taxes?
  3. Is this a vital record belonging to a person or an asset?
  4. Is this a newer version of an existing document?

Click the graphic below to see how it works:

Freedom Filer makes filing easy

Could it be that easy?  YES!

If you use FreedomFiler® share your experience.  If you have a question, share that too!

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Filed under General Organizing, Office, Paper, Work

Tax Paper Organizing With FreedomFiler®

FFSetUpHorizZoomJPGGathering statements, receipts and documents for tax time is often a reminder of how important it is to have your papers in order.

Would you like to be able to gather your tax information in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days? The start of a new year is always a good time to take a fresh look at your paper filing system and consider a complete overhaul.

The FreedomFiler® filing system is an amazing solution to paper clutter. Specifically for tax-related documents FreedomFiler® provides:

  • Specific homes for each type of tax deduction you take avoids time-consuming sorting at year-end
  • Keeps receipts & statements for the year just ended separate from the current year
  • All tax-related paperwork in one easy place
  • An easy system for archiving completed taxes out of the main filing area

There are several more parts to the complete FreedomFiler® system, which we will showcase in future posts! Watch a video of how the tax system works or call us today for a consultation.

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Filed under General Organizing, Office, Paper, Time Management, Work