30 Days To Organise Your Life! Day 15 - Piles Of Paperwork?

Does paperwork seem to appear out of nowhere? Piling up with no where to go? The more it piles up the harder it is to attempt to tackle it all? 

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My advice on this one is so simple. Once you pick up a piece of paperwork for the first time, don't put it down until you've dealt with it!

When you think about it, most documents that either arrive in the post or come home in the school bag can be dealt with in a matter of minutes or possibly less! 


* Letter home from school about an event that requires wearing a special costume or bringing in some money to donate etc. Read the letter, write the key info on your calendar and put the letter in the recycling bin. 1 minute job.

* Letter home from school regarding a trip coming up. Fill in the slip, cut it off the letter, put in an envelope, label the envelope, add money if required and put it straight back in the school bag to go back the next day. 2 minute job.

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* You open a letter about your car insurance details/utilities/ broadband provider/bank statement/yearly mortgage update etc. If no course of action is needed, file it immediately in your expandable box file or filing cabinet. 30 second job.

* You receive a letter or email about your car/home/life insurance renewal etc. This requires you to do a price comparison before renewing with a cheaper/better provider. If you do not have 15 minutes to spare at the time you open the email/letter then immediately write this job down on your daily 'to do' list. I keep mine on the fridge so that I walk past it all the time and whenever I have a spare bit of time I can tackle one of the jobs before I forget about it.

Service provider renewals take no time at all these days and if you have done it online before, then next time you log in you should have minimal details to change, so you could be getting new quotes within a few minutes. I'm sure most people can find between 5 and 15 minutes at the end of the day to get this kind of paperwork dealt with and you can then tick it off your 'to do' list before you go to bed, leaving your mind clear of another job. 

Additional tips

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Another tip is to not have a specific place to put letters or other paperwork in your house. People who tend to have a letter holder or a place where they have a paperwork pile, take longer to deal with these things. They believe by putting it in their chosen location they're being organised as it is being put there so that they deal with it and don't lose it. 

In fact, what often happens is that it gets put in the pile and promptly forgotten about for much longer than intended. Sometimes this results in missing the deadlines for renewals or forgetting about impending school or social events until the last minute. 

If you feel you still need a pile where you can put important paperwork that you haven't had time to sort, then my biggest tip would be to set aside a specific time each week to whizz through it all and banish that pile to the recycling or to be filed as soon as you've dealt with it all.

Try to start each week with no paperwork looming over you, putting a dark cloud over your week before it's even started - heaven knows the weather's been grey enough as it is!