I remember back when I was running my own business, the sheer amount of paperwork you’re get was absolutely overwhelming. I was also doing my own bookkeeping and one of the “How To” books I got had the following advice.
Every piece of paper that comes across your desk should fit into one of three categories.
- Use it: this is something which needs action. If so, then do it. (Prioritized against other to do items of course)
- Store it: if it’s something which you need to keep, then file it away right now.
- Dump it: if it doesn’t need action and you won’t need it in the future, dump it, right now.
This is kinda similar to the zero inbox approach outlined elsewhere on the web and it does work quite well as long as you’re disciplined.
On another tangent, I love notebooks. A new, clean and empty refill pad has such potential… So inevitably I end up with garbled, doodle filled notes after a few months. Snapshots of details which were important right at that time mixed with more permanently important notes.
So, I’m going to change over and try and use loose leaf note paper from now on. Anything important gets put up on the company blog while transitory information gets dumped.
Use it – Store it – Dump it.