Although I’m a huge fan of to-do lists and paper planners, occasions arise that call for a solution to house papers or information related to the tasks I need to complete. Often, papers that need to be signed or have information I need to complete a task end up on my kitchen counter or stored in my hanging inbox in my laundry room. It’s too easy to misplace important papers.
I discovered an easy way to keep track of those papers when I was trying to figure out how to organize my work at my part-time job. My job is fairly predictable. I have certain tasks that happen on each day that I work. I only have a few responsibilities that pop up at irregular times.
For these few tasks, I decided to create a folder titled Work In Process (WIP) to hold papers related to the tasks. For instance, I will receive emails on occasion that require a specific action when I have the time to complete it. Instead of leaving the email buried in my inbox on my computer, I print it off and put it in my WIP folder.
Another example is that I may receive something in the mail or from a co-worker that I need to handle. So, I’ll put it in the WIP file, too.
When I finish the tasks that must be completed each day, I pull out my WIP folder and flip through it to see what I can do that day. I try to pick the oldest items and work on them first.
What about my to-do list? Yes, these items could go on a master to-do list. In fact I probably need to do that at work. However, I usually add them to my daily to-do list when I get to work and see what I need to do for the day.
I’m copying this process of storing papers related to items on my to-do list at home. I keep a folder in my hanging inbox in the laundry room. When I have papers related to a task I need to complete, I’ll note the task on my to-do list, make a note that the supporting papers are in the folder, and then I put the paper in the folder.
I think this will cut down on the random papers that are floating around my kitchen and laundry room.
The key to making this work is making sure the tasks are on my to-do list and there is a note reminding me the supporting papers are in the folder. It’s so important to stay on top of our paperwork since it’s the main culprit of so much clutter in our homes.
How do you keep up with your paperwork?