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Taking care of paperwork


Bogged down by paperwork? You're not alone. In the research we've done, the highest ranking impediment to productivity is always paperwork and administrative tasks. And they told us all those computers would result in much less of it. Promises, promises. Since paperwork is here to stay, you need to deal with it. When you do, there are only four things you can do with piles of paper. They're summed up in a handy acronym known as FLAG. The "F" stands for file it. Not everything of course. Keep only those things you'll need to refer to again. Also, keep a miscellaneous, junk file for stuff that just can't seem to find a home. Every time the junk file gets over an inch thick, it's time to go through it and purge. "L" stands for let someone else do it. Delegate your paperwork. Delegate the sorting too. Even if you don't have an assistant, look for creative ways to prevent administrative tasks from reaching you. Assign the rest to someone else. "A" stands for take action. Sooner or later, you'll need to respond to administrivia. Set time aside in a block during non-prime hours and do it all then. If not, then throw it into the "G", the famous garbage file. You don't need all that paper piling up, especially if someone else is likely to have a copy. These days, e-mail is as ubiquitous as paperwork used to be. Everything that applies for traditional paper applies equally to e-mail. Remember the FLAG options. Your time is worth it.

Mark Ellwood is a productivity consultant dedicated to improving people and processes through consulting, training and facilitation. Reach him at mark@GetMoreDone.com or www.getmoredone.com.

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