When I was a kid, I used to love checking the letterbox for mail each afternoon. I checked always hoping that there would be a letter from my Pen Pal Melissa. I met Melissa while on a family holiday in Port Macquarie NSW and we kept in contact as Pen Pals for years… which was quite an achievement in the pre-internet era.
Nowadays I don’t receive any hand written letters, but somehow the inflow of paperwork into our home is still going strong. I see as I’m with clients, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed with how best to manage the flow of papers. I’ve been to clients homes where paperwork is crippling them and the cause of much anxiety and stress.
I’ve seen multiple families deal with their overwhelm by stashing ALL papers in storage containers and closing the lid once it gets too full. That’s some serious avoidance and not being on top of your paperwork has some serious consequences.
Late fees, credit card debt, missed appointments, utilities cut off, disconnected phone services and a sense of dread and anxiety are just the immediate consequences.
You may not be as desperate for reform as I’m talking about, but if I know one thing, it’s that we can all improve the functionality of our homes by streamlining and processing our incoming papers more efficiently.
Here are my 2 easy steps to managing your paperwork like a boss:
- Handle everything straight away as it enters your home. This means that the minute junk mail comes into your home you decide what you want to read and what you can recycle immediately. Birthday invitations are replied to and put in the diary straight away. Open mail the second you bring it inside, recycle the envelope and if the contents need follow up set them aside to process. Don’t delay what you can do immediately.
- Have a filing system that is super easy to use. If you use a filing cabinet, chances are you’re keeping way too much unnecessary paperwork. Unless you have particularly complicated financial affairs or run a business it’s unlikely your filing system needs to be more complex than one ring binder per financial year.
So next time you get mail, don’t leave it in the envelope to deal with later, don’t stick invitations on the fridge before you reply… don’t delay what you can do now.
Enjoy the Freedom!