MaaMaw's Morsels

Friday, February 11, 2005

Paperwork Procrastinator?

I am.

It's what I do best.

It isn't at all unusual for me to have two months of mail unopened. I've probably wasted a full year of my life frantically flipping through envelopes trying to find the bill I have to pay today (and it's always TODAY, never next week or "on the 15th").

A lot of stuff takes care of itself if I ignore it long enough (but alas, a lot of stuff gets me in terrible trouble).

I'm perfectly capable of organizing... I just don't.

Anyhoo, that is neither here nor there. My point is to pass along something I read in a magazine. Of all the bzillion-or-so useless tips I've read and ignored, I just can't ignore this one:

Get one of those crates that holds hanging files, and label a bunch of hanging folders with ONE VERB. Use absolutely NOTHING but verbs. The verb should be the action you need to take to

(da daaaaaaa!)


This is haunting me. Every time I think, "I'm not going to do this," a little voice says, "Get it out of your life forever!"

Okay, so you've got folders that say "call" and "file" and "fill out form" and "research" and "decide" and "write check" and "stamp envelope" (hey, nothing is too small to put me into "I'll-do-it-tomorrow" mode).

Never put two verbs on a folder. If your piece of paper needs two actions, move it to a different folder when the first action is behind you (or finish it?? naaaaaa...)

Put every last piece of paper in a folder.

Then start working through the folders one by one. Set aside a little time each day, or a little more time each week (another day, another week... after three years, who cares?). Don't allow yourself to drift, and don't allow yourself to bypass even ONE piece of paper (hear the little voice?).

The point is, when you start actually doing something (i.e., making phone calls), the momentum keeps you going (at least that's how it works for me).

As new papers come in, they go in the trash, you take care of them on the spot, or you put them in the correct folder.

I'm not finished yet, but I'm closer than I have been in 15 years... and it seems like there's a little less stress every time I get a paper out of my life forever.


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