Deck of Me Week 6 - What's Your Junk? by racham.

photo credit racham

Is paper processing one of your major problems? My email leads me to suspect this is the case, so I’m going to be re-visiting that section from How To Be Organized in Spite of Yourself.

When you’re not sure what to do with incoming papers they usually start piling up and you begin to worry that there’s something in there that you’ve forgotten about that is going to “get” you. While it’s true that some productive people deliberately stack their papers on their desks, and know what and where everything is, most people operate better without mile-high piles that make finding things an exercise in frustration.

Generally, when people call me in to help organize their paperwork, they explain their accumulations with:

“I had no place to put this, so it’s here temporarily.”  or

“I’m afraid I’ll forget to do this if I don’t leave it out.” or

“I may need this in the future so I’ve stuck it here.”

Behind these paperwork-crisis statements is a problem of decision-making. My clients are really saying:

“I can’t handle this right now. What should I do with it?” or

“I don’t have the answer to this. What should I do with it?” or

“I just finished with this. What should I do with it?”

Every paper that lands on your desk has to go somewhere or be acted upon in some way, so you need to form the habit of sorting whatever comes in. The advantage of sorting is that the next time you have to find something, you (usually) won’t have to go through every piece of paper. You’ll only have to go through the pile in the category where it would have been placed.

In my next post I’ll present a simple, basic sorting system that will put you back in control of your paperwork and ensure that you stay that way.

3 Responses to "Drowning in Paper – Part I"

  1. Susan

    May 8, 2009

    Hello Sunny
    I was just looking up your site, so I could mention it on a blog.
    I loved your book Organizing for the Spirit…and it came to mind when I was writing my blog article, so I thought I’d mention it, since I enjoyed it, and found it very helpful. I wish I could say I’m a recovering clutterholic, but
    I’m still working on my issues, so I appreciate your ongoing web articles.

  2. sunny

    May 9, 2009

    Thanks, Susan! I appreciate the mention and enjoyed checking in on your blog too. I think it’s great that you dedicated this summer to support of your amazing friend. Best of luck with the hospice walk and the clutter. 🙂

  3. Susan

    May 9, 2009

    I just found your note. I’m going to put the blog on my blog page at
    You’ll probably laugh…but I do love your book, and it’s a way to thank you for writing it. I’ve enjoyed it very much.
    I appreciate your thoughts, too, about my friend Clayton Klein and his walks.
    Yes, soon I will have to learn organizing websites, too. I have another one waiting in the wings to work on. And I need to organize the current one. And add a blog etc.
    I just joined Twitter to catch up with a young actor friend, and so now I can follow you there, as well.
    My condolences to you about your friend…the rose is beautiful.
    Thanks again…Sue

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