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Imperfect Perfectionist - 5 Places for Paper

posted Mar 8, 2011, 9:09 AM by Kristin Mastromarino Vander Wiede

Wendy, so many people struggle with the little papers, the ones that you procrastinate until you are forced by a spouse or colleague to deal with it.  Whether it is e-mail or paper these are my five foolproof categories for paper:

1.  Calendar:  Any invitation, event or appointment should immediately be put on your personal or family calendar and the paper should be tossed.  Put all important contact and location information right in your calendar. If you are not ready to commit to it by writing it in your calendar, then there is a good chance you will never put it on there and you should just get rid of the paper immediately.

2.  Task List:  I suggest maintaining a master to do list either on your computer or in your day planner.  Every piece of paper or e-mail you are saving to remind you to take some action should be recorded on that list with all pertinent information and tossed.  The same can be done with e-mails.  Make your e-mails into a task with an electronic reminder to ensure you do it in a timely manner. Use your calendar to schedule tasks and you will have a far more successful completion rate.

3.  Address Book:  Often we keep business cards, e-mails and envelopes simply for contact information.  Try to enter this information in a master address book on your computer or on your desk so you have the information at your fingertips in an index rather than mixed in a pile.  You will find a lot of paper disappears quickly when you maintain a simple address book.

4.  Folder:  Sometimes we just have to keep paper or e-mails to refer back to them.  Have  a simple regular and electronic filing system to keep these papers shuffling to their logical place.  But before you are quick to just file it away be realistic with yourself as to whether you will actually remember it is there or ever really need it again.  In other words, don’t  use your files as a procrastination tool to avoid making decisions.

5. Trash/Recycle:  Most paperwork and e-mails can head to the trash immediately.  Try to get anything that doesn’t fit into the above four categories into the trash as fast as possible.  Reducing the visual clutter on your desk or or your computer can help tremendously in not missing what is important.

Kristin Mastromarino is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Orgnanzing (  She is also the owner of The Organized Lifestyle Store (  E-mail her your questions