How to Organize Paperwork
Step 1: Gather Your Papers Together

In Step 1 of how to organize paperwork (the unclutter step), gathering up all the papers and sticky notes and piles helps you get your arms around what you've got.

Most people have pieces of paper in many different places in their office and their home...mail and invitations and bills pile up on the desk, post-it notes accumulate on the computer, and articles and projects end up on the credenza, in piles on the floor, and stacked in the closet.

Sound familiar?

However, when you have papers all over the place, it’s much harder to keep track of what you have going on.

Loose papers and post-it notes also create a lot of mind clutter.

What started out as a good intention of putting something 'right where you'll see it' ends up doing just the becomes part of the background noise of all the other papers sitting out 'right where you'll see them' and creates a surprising level of stress and clutter.

Our first activity in how to organize paperwork for good is to gather all that loose paper up and have it in one place.

  1. Create (and use) one "incoming paper center" in your office or home
  2. Get an inbox that you really like and will use
  3. Gather up all of your loose papers
Once you have designated your paper center and got yourself an inbox you love, the next action is to QUICKLY gather up all of your loose papers and put them in your inbox.

Go through your office and your home, gathering all of the loose papers, piles, post-it notes, napkins with writing on them, stray business cards, invitations, etc.  

Simply gather the loose papers and put them in your inbox. You might find that your inbox gets pretty full...that's OK! During our next step, we'll start quickly sorting through your inbox so you can see what's really in there. 


When you're done with Step 1 of how to organize paperwork, move on to the next step: Sort Your Papers Into Categories

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