OK, we have begun to wrestle those piles into submission. Now, lets talk about how to keep them out of the office altogether:
TIP#3 Switch from being a HORIZONTAL PAPER PILER to being a VERTICAL PAPER PILER. Do you throw the stream of paper coming into your office in piles on your desk and floor? Don’t get mad, I’m not picking on you. I understand that some of you no longer have your own secretary (or, if you’re a really young attorney, maybe you never did). It’s OK; there are ways of creating systems where paper automatically files itself. You don’t necessarily have to double as your own file clerk. The first step to identifying and dealing with the paper is to GET IT VERTICAL and separated. My experience is that paper which lies down out of sightline gets ignored, is not processed and grows into anonymous, looming, oppressive mountains. Here is the one solution I’ve come up with that seems to work for a lot of people. Vertical file stands offer a way to instantly separate paper by case, client, etc. Get as many of these vertical file stands as will fit on top of your heating vent (without covering the vent), the top of your file cabinet, your end tables, or the counter space on your cubicle. Will this look busy? Yes, maybe, but you are busy.
In any case,I’d much rather see rows of these and empty floor space
in place of this:
Now, here are two ways of categorizing ACTION paper that will help you to ACT on it and I suggest using BOTH methods.
First, create a series of files that are ACTION-RELATED. Here are the names of those files: RESPOND TODAY, RESPOND this WEEK, RESPOND this month. This could be further broken down into 1) making calls and 2) send an email regarding – but you might just want to stay simple and use the previous 3 general action headings. These three folders provide and instant tickler system and instigate a daily routine. You only have to deal with one folder at a time and the one which gets first priority is TODAY. As you act on the items in your TODAY folder, shift paper from the WEEK folder to the TODAY folder and from the MONTH folder to the WEEK folder.
The second series of action related files will not be so urgent as the ACTION files – but still stuff you need to get to and which you need to see. The names of those files will be either by client, matter or subject, or all of the above. In part 4, I’ll tell you what to do with reference paper
In addition to being AABANY’s Administrative Assistant, Margaret Langston is a Professional Organizer. Her business, BEAUTIFUL CORNER, offers full organization services for the home or small business. BEAUTIFUL CORNER’s goal is help simplify the lives of its clients so that they may achieve optimum organization and full productivity at home and at work. BEAUTIFUL CORNER offers onsite and virtual service. For more information go to www.beautifulcorner.com.