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     Simple Steps to Cut Paper Clutter


We’ve got way to go to reach the paperless future shown in The Jetsons and Star Trek. During the course of daily life, many of us are faced with a DELUGE of paper, all of which needs to be dealt with in some way. Many people I’ve worked with are drowning in stacks, piles, and desks full of paper, and want to gain CONTROL over the paper in their lives. If this rings true with you, read on for some tips on how to begin to turn off the “paper faucet.”
STEMMING THE TIDE

Many people get far more paper coming in than they want or know what to do with, so the first step in managing paper is to REDUCE the amount that comes in. Start with your mail. Junk mail, which is still filling up many mailboxes and creating tons of waste and clutter, can be stopped, or at least reduced. Get your name off of junk mailing LISTS by going to the Direct Marketing Association’s web site at www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.html.
JUST SAY NO

Call your credit card company and tell them not to SHARE your name or your information with third parties. Do the same with your magazine subscriptions, utilities, and other organizations that send you mail. Try to refrain from signing up for contests and other freebies, as these types of promotions frequently share names with junk mailers. The goal is to try and have your name and information in as few DATABASES as possible -– the fewer companies that have your name, the less junk mail you’ll find in your mailbox.
HIGH TECH PROBLEMS

Computers were supposed to solve the “paper problem” -– or so we were led to believe. In reality, computers tend to GENERATE far more paper than they conserve -– the article you printed out, the emails you decided to make hard copies of, etc. I’ve found that many people that print out information from the internet and email do not really have a clear idea of WHY they are printing it out, other than that they are saving it “for later.” Nor do they have a specific place to put this printed information, so it tends to end up buried under a pile or hidden in a drawer “somewhere.”
A RULE TO FOLLOW

Here’s a handy guideline: print web pages or emails ONLY when you know exactly where and to who they are going –- if you can’t answer those questions, then there’s no need to have a hard copy. Instead, create a system of BOOKMARKS in your web browser, which will help you find the articles that you’d like to read or refer to later. You can create bookmarks by topic, by site, by date -- whatever makes the most sense for your purposes. Likewise, as an alternative to printing out emails, create folders in your email program to store your old email messages, or offload them onto a compact or removable disk.
GETTING OUT FROM UNDER

Trying just a couple of these simple ideas can dramatically reduce the amount of paper that you have to wrestle with. In time, your freely flowing “paper faucet” will be reduced to a TRICKLE.

 

Joshua Zerkel, Productivity Strategist, is a Certified Professional Organizer and the founder of Custom Living Solutions, the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier productivity and organizing consulting firm. Josh is also the 2008-2010 President of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Josh specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses find easy ways to get control of their space, information, time, and technology so they can reduce stress and boost their productivity. Josh has been featured in various media, including CBS News, ABC News, the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, Organize Magazine, Online Organizing, and many others, is a regular columnist on the Franklin Covey website, and co-hosts the “Thrive Solutions” radio show on Thrive in Balance.

Josh is also a popular organizing instructor in the San Francisco business community, speaking to small and large companies about the different techniques they can use to optimize efficiency and productivity in their work environment so they can serve more clients and make more money. Although he doesn’t consider himself freakishly organized, Josh does admit to spending some of his free time alphabetizing his comic books and fixing the tags on his MP3 collection.

For more of Josh’s practical (and sometimes pithy!) organizing tips, sign up for the Custom Living Solutions newsletter at www.customlivingsolutions.com or call 415-830-6345.

Connect with Josh on:

Facebook: http://companies.to/customlivingsolutions

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuazerkel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joshuazerkel


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