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Elizabeth Larkin

Quick Tip: Organize paper for projects

By March 6, 2013

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organize paper clutter

I once worked as a consultant on a large firm that serviced political campaigns.  The in-house accountant was a total pro:  super organized, detail-oriented, excel whiz.  He was so good he taught classes to aspiring accountants at a local college.  (I'm going to refrain from making fun of this lively bunch since I have several close friends in the profession).

Without boring you with the details, accounting for political campaigns is a tricky topic because you need to disclose statements on a varying basis.  I was responsible for project managing this process and was truly hyper about getting things done on time.  Enter the master accountant.  He literally put a basket in front of his desk, labeled in "campaign" on a piece of masking tape and told me to dump everything in there.  I protested:

"But what about...?"

"How can we...?"  "

Do you think...?"

And every time he would answer, "Elizabeth, I'm busy, just relax and put your papers in the campaign basket."

The basket strategy was genius for these reasons:

  1. It kept everything in one place--this is crucial.
  2. He was able to collect and handle things at one time, rather than dealing with each document more than once.
  3. It kept things neat and tidy.  Psychologically, its easier to tackle a neat pile than a bunch of papers strewn all over your home or office.

Try using the "basket strategy" for your mail and any other paper clutter you've accumulated for the next week and see if it works for you.


March 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm
(1) Jordy Dawson says:

Very good post. Keep writing.

March 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm
(2) Elizabeth says:

Thank you, Jordy. I appreciate the feedback. Elizabeth

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