The sheer amount of paper that I get on any given day is enormous. I get handed reports from my employees. I get handed reports from vendors and distributors. I get incoming faxes. I print off emails. I print off my own reports. I get handed various memos and lists from people. I have receipts. I have bills to pay. I have mail to go out. I have mail coming in—most of it junk. And on top of that…I’m a writer and a consultant, so I have tons of research material and rough drafts of manuscripts all over the place as well. Sometimes I ask myself how I don’t go insane.
Well, many of you have similar issues with paper. Paper seems cheap, but how much of your valuable time does paper eat away each day. How many times did you have to search around for a particular piece of paper with your list or notes on it in the haystack of other papers on your desk. Or have you ever tossed out a pile of papers and then realized later that you had also tossed out something important that you needed?
In order to manage our time more effectively, we are going to have to set up a system for handling all of our incoming paper. That system I call the F.A.T. system which is an acronym for:
· File it
· Act on it
· Throw it away
Whenever you receive an incoming piece of paper, immediately deal with it using the F.A.T. system. If you are going to file it, then have a place where you keep all of your filed documents. By the way, the top of your desk does not qualify as a filing cabinet. If you are going to act on that piece of paper, then do it now. Don’t wait 10 minutes to do it. Each time you put a task aside to do later, the chances of you actually getting around to doing that task declines dramatically. Lastly, if you are not going to use that piece of paper and you’re not going to file it, then throw it away. Don’t be a paper pack rat. Throw out what is not needed because it only adds to your clutter and clutter can equal lost time and stress.
By utilizing the F.A.T. system, you can maintain control over your paper issues.
Tristan Loo is the founder of the Synergy Institute, LLC. A personal & professional development company based out of San Diego County, Calfornia. Tristan is a former police officer, author, professional mediator, and conflict negotiator. He is the author of Street Negotiation–How to Resolve Any Conflict Anytime. Please visit our website at http://www.synergyinstituteonline.com or email us directly at [email protected]
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