Got Paper?

Let Go of the “…but I Know Where Everything Is” Game

Do you find yourself proudly defending the tons of paper in your office with the old saw “…but I know where everything is,” as if it were an award or badge of honor?

I’m betting that you don’t know where everything is and even if you did, I think it would take you more than 5 seconds to find it and it shouldn’t take any of us more than 5 seconds to find anything in our offices.

And even though this song is about breaking up, I have to laugh at what springs to mind for me: I think about all those little post-it notes singing to you from all over your desk: “Come on baby, finish what you started, I’m incomplete…”

Do you think that everything around you is essential to keep? If you said “yes,” then you’d be surprised to know that “80% of papers that are filed are never referenced again” 1 and “40% of worker’s time is spent searching for misfiled, misplaced, or lost documents.”

Outside of keeping certain legal and financial documents, why burden yourself with documents that may not be useful to you anymore? If once in a great while you need a paper you threw away, you can probably get it again very easily. Let’s be honest about this.

If you do have documents and files that must be kept, then consider saving these essential and useful items electronically or in file drawers using a system that allows you to find and file things in seconds.

Ultimately, the more you have, the more you have to manage and the more time it takes to manage it. These are minutes and hours in your life that you’ll never get back!

Rather than cling to your paper like a security blanket, consider leaving your comfort zone, changing your identity in the office and letting go of some of what you’re keeping. Instead, focus on what’s really important – - making yourself more efficient, more productive, less stressed and much happier!