At the beginning of a new year, statistics say that some 45% of people make new year’s resolutions. The number two most popular resolution is to “get organized” right after “losing weight” which has become the number one resolution. The statistics also say that a mere 8% of Americans will achieve their resolution. I think when it comes to getting organized, we can do better than 8%, don’t you?
Paper and clutter are the two most common challenges to getting organized. Today, let’s just talk about one source of the paper piles – the mail. Six days a week the mail comes whether you want it to or not. Some days you have time to go through it and other days you may not. There may be decisions that need input from someone else, or more information, bills to pay, magazines to read and of course the most plentiful….the junk mail.
First thing to do to get it under control is to designate a home for the mail. Not having a specific place means it may land on the kitchen table, then at dinner it is moved to the island or the counter, or it gets hidden under a homework book. You get the picture, it needs a home. A clear inbox, basket or bin that is not too large but can hold a typical week’s worth of mail (smaller if you don’t want yours to build up that long) makes a good home or rather a temporary holding zone. Of course, if you can throw out the flyers and shred the junk mail before it goes into the inbox, all the better. If not, that’s okay. Just pick a day of the week when you will go through the entire bin.
On “mail day” sort the mail first into bills, decisions/to do, to read, and junk. Shred or recycle the junk. Next pay the bills. If you pay them online, then set a day of the week that you will do that or do it after the rest of the mail is taken care of. It is becoming increasingly time consuming to have to write out an actual check so those things can sometimes slip through the cracks.
Next, move the magazines to a “to read” basket or throw one or two in your car for those times you find yourself waiting. Or put one or two by your favorite chair and read during the commercials.
What’s left is the mail that requires a decision of some sort. The best way to do that is to just go through it and decide on the things you can and then write a “to do” in your planner for the next action step on anything that is left over. Make it a rule to empty the bin each week and of course try to deal with some of it as it comes in so that your “mail day” can become a “mail hour.” Keep at it and you will beat the odds!
This week I’ll be posting more tips on handling paper on the Laine’s Logic Facebook page. “Like” us so you won’t miss them. Thanks for reading!