Anyone else out there that is administratively-challenged?
Funny…I haven’t seen this topic addressed anywhere; maybe I’m the only one out there with this problem. In case I’m not, though, I’ll explain.
My husband calls them LPs. Little Piles. Piles of paperwork that seem to go forth and multiply during the night.
They usually start when we have company, and we have company a lot. A few innocent seeming papers on the kitchen counter get bundled together and moved out of sight, possibly onto the washer or such. For the most part they are made up of either deferred decisions or deferred actions.
Until recently, when they got noticeably out of hand I would grimly tackle them according to the traditional old-school thinking that I am s-l-o-w-l-y learning to overcome. I would sort them into categories on my dining room table, and slowly work through the different Littler Piles.
Work stuff. To pay. To file. Photos. Needs attention. School stuff. Important school stuff. Government. Health. (Or should that be under ‘To File’?…Nah, it Needs Attention…) Recipes. Stuff To Return To People.
Then it would be supper time, so I would file the ‘To File’ pile and move the other piles somewhere else, where they would morph back during the night into a single uncategorized Little Pile.
5 S works for paperwork, too!
Tonight I took one of those LPs and 5 S’d the little so-and-so right through to completion. Yup, all the way! And instead of dividing it and then deciding what to do with the papers, I reversed the process: I took the top paper, decided what to do with it, and pulled any other papers that went to the same place from the pile. Then…I…put them away…and did it again with the next item.
Sorted the junk stuff into the garbage. This was easy, as I do this when the mail comes.
Set in order. The putting away I just described.
Shined the counter space where the papers had been reposing.
Standardize. Still working on this, but here’s what I’ve done so far: I took a manila file folder and wrote in large dark letters across the front: 4D the mail! Dump it. Do it. Designate a time to do it. Delegate it. As soon as you collect it! I believe that in this case, standardizing it will have the biggest impact of all the steps, because until now we have not had a system. We just…did the mail. Or didn’t.
Sustain. In order to build in some accountability I’ve told my husband I am tackling the LP problem at its roots. I know he will be watching with an eagle eye to see if the LPs start to come back again! If this is not enough I will build more accountability into the system, probably using a small calendar next to the mail landing zone.
Update, more than a month later: this WORKS, oh happy day!