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The trouble with paper

Blog post   •   Sep 18, 2014 11:25 +08

Contrary to what some futurists would predict, mankind will never be able to get away from paper documents.  And if you read this, this and this, you'll agree that paper is here to stay too. 

But paper is probably the most banal things in our lives, because it is difficult to keep them organized. One of the most common problems overwhelming offices and cubicles, large or small, is stacks of papers and books.  Often, its owners would complain about spending inordinate amount of time to reduce the pile, only to have it inching upwards again after a few days. 

So, as our awesome contribution to all of mankind, here are our easy-to-follow steps to solving your paper-pile problem, permanently.  

1.  Have an inbox 

Why?  Because not everything needs/should be handled the moment they come in.  You'll retain your sanity better if it's not all in a pile or spread out on your desk. 

Better yet, get a storage container that have finite space, like a magazine holder, instead of a conventional in-tray that allows piles to grow to infinite heights.  That way, you will have no choice but to tackle the inbox when it becomes full. 

2.  Clear your inbox regularly

When you're ready to clear the inbox (an awesome fix to the after-lunch stupor), here's the process to follow: 

  1. Take a piece of paper out and read it. 
  2. If the paper requires an action (other than trashing it), and the action is no more than 2 minutes, do it right away. 
  3. If the action takes more than 2 minutes, move the paper to a separate "to-do box" and put a note in your calendar for handling it. 
The beauty of this system is that you don't have to wait for the reminder to pop up before working on your to-dos.  On days when the office gets too crazy, and you need a mindless break, pick up the to-do box and clear up some of the paperwork.  

3.  If a piece of paper stays too long in the to-do box, get rid of it

An overstaying piece of paper can only mean one thing - that it is not important.  So?  Give it the good-ol' shredder treatment.  Don't worry - the paper won't feel a thing. 

So you see, paper is not as terrifying as we make it out to be.  All it takes to tame the monster is the correct process and some containers.  Go ahead, try it - we promise you'll feel 10kg lighter. 

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