Today, a lot of our world is digital. But somehow, that hasn’t eliminated those pesky piles of paper that build up day after day. When so many of our systems are electronic, it’s hard to know how to wrangle the mess. Here tips from highly-organized author, Karen Whiting , to help you get those messy piles transformed into something that actually makes sense.
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Simple rules, sticky notes, and file folders streamline time and paper piles.
- Try to handle each paper once with a prompt response, filing it, or discarding it.
- When a paper can’t be deal with quickly, attach a sticky note with the next step to be done, such as information needed. The little note saves re-reading the paper to recall what is needed. For future filing or receipts to hand in, write the category a receipt will be charged to (youth, curriculum, church supplies)
- Use an upright file holder to organize papers that can’t be quickly filed or disposed of. Use colored folders or tabs as quick codes, such as a green for receipts, blue one to hold sermon notes, or black for funerals. This organizes the slush pile.
- Remember the acrostic F-A-S-T
F-ile documents and important information
A-ct on bills and current information quickly
S-tore, or schedule to-do papers in an easily retrievable manner
T-oss any paper not needed
- Schedule recurring, written tasks. These include handing in receipts, writing appreciation or sympathy notes, and paying bills.
- Develop systems that work. For example, saving sermon illustrations may be best in a database with columns for scriptures and topics to sort easily. Another system is to carry a small journal and write illustrations with the appropriate scripture in the top right corner. If the source is from another source, such as another pastor, a movie, or a book, write the source.
Karen Whiting is the author of eighteen books and recipient of the 2014 Christian Retailing Best Award, children’s nonfiction.