Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

The Art of Wastebasketry


Are your filing cabinets stuffed so full that it's difficult to retrieve and file papers? If you're like 80% of the people in the audiences to whom I speak, your answer is "Yes." "Are there things in your filing cabinet you could probably throw out?" Most once again answer "Yes." So what's the problem?

Certainly a major stumbling block is time. Some may say cleaning out the filing cabinet won't make you money. My response is "Really?" Research shows the average person spends 150 hours each year looking for misplaced information. What would happen to your bottom line if you added that time to getting new customers or selling new products or services to old customers?

Frequently people say to me "It never fails. Every time I throw out something, I need it the next day." To which I reply, "Can you give me an example?" Mostly I get silence. Determine whether you want to keep each piece of paper at all by asking yourself these "Art of Wastebasketry?" questions:

1. Does this require any action on my part? Just because you receive information-even if it's from your boss-doesn't mean you need to keep it! If it doesn't require action, file it or toss it right away! If it's just an FYI, read it and toss.

2. Does this exist elsewhere? Is it in the library? Do you know an expert on the subject who'd be certain to have more complete information if you really needed it? Is the original filed elsewhere? Is it necessary to keep a hard copy if it already exists in the computer?

3. Is this information recent enough to be useful? Today, information becomes outdated very quickly. Would you want a customer to decide whether or not to choose your services based on a three-year-old brochure? The information in a 6-month-old magazine article about computer software has undoubtedly been superseded, as has a downloaded product review from an on-line service. In many cases, it is more appropriate to keep track of the source of the information, so you can get the latest version, rather than keeping the information itself.

4. Can I identify specific circumstances when I'd use this information? Usually, "just in case" is not good enough! Files labeled "Miscellaneous" are of little value, because there's nothing to trigger you to look there. If you can't identify how you'd use the information - at least well enough that you can file it for future reference, it's unlikely that you'd remember you have it, let alone be able to find it later.

5. Are there any tax or legal implications? Here's where "just in case" works. Unfortunately, we're frequently required to resurrect paper that we'd much rather have forgotten. Sometimes, having outdated information in your files can create unnecessary problems. A client of mine was sued. When the company's files were subpoenaed, the prosecuting attorney found my client's unsigned contract proposal, and used it to prove wrongful intent. My client lost the suit and had to pay $147,000. Had the files had been properly cleaned; I don't believe that would have happened.

If you answer "No" to all the above questions, but are still not comfortable throwing something away, ask one last question: 6. What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I didn't have this information?

If you can live with your answer, toss it - and live happily ever after. For years I have orchestrated "File Clean-Out Days" with companies. I used to live in fear that someone would come back to me afterward with a horror story of something we threw out, and they needed later. In 20 years, it's never happened!

Recently a woman told me that one of the big frustrations in her advertising company was staff spending time looking for materials from client projects years' prior. I suggested a plan. Why not establish a company policy that "We keep client materials for three years." At the end of each year, you send a letter to the client saying "We have the following materials from the project we did together. Our policy is to keep client materials for three years. If we don't hear from you in 60 days, the materials will be destroyed." What's the worst possible thing that could happen? Four possibilities than I can think of. (1) You won't waste valuable time looking for something that brings back nothing to the company, (2) Your policy makes you look very professional, or (3) Your letter reminds the client of your availability, and you get a new contract! Who says using your wastebasket doesn't make money? And (4), somebody somewhere probably has it anyway - in spite of our best efforts!

© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com


MORE RESOURCES:

The Providence Journal

Patriots and Seahawks derive motivation β€” and success β€” from late in the draft
The Providence Journal
CHANDLER, Ariz. β€” Doug Baldwin didn't hesitate. Neither did Richard Sherman or Bobby Wagner or Julian Edelman. β€œIt would be easy for me to say I'm over it,” Seattle's leading receiver said of being bypassed in the NFL Draft, β€œbut the truth of the ...
NFL | Super Bowl: Slights just motivate Seahawks receiversColumbus Dispatch
Super Bowl is filled with mid- and late-round draft picksNorwich Bulletin

all 69 news articles »


ExxonMobil Adds Protections For LGBT Employees, But Advocates Skeptical Of ...
Huffington Post
After years of criticism and mounting pressure, ExxonMobil has finally added workplace discrimination protections for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. As The Washington Blade's Chris Johnson reports, company spokesperson ...

and more »


Yourstory.in

Orobind, a personal fitness coach for those who need motivation
Yourstory.in
You can set your weight loss goals, earn rewards as you progress towards your goals and monitor your progress discussing it continuously either with their in-house coaches/motivation experts or your personal coach. You also get unlimited access to ...



Focus News

Project on enhancing integrity, motivation of Bulgarian prosecutors to be ...
Focus News
Sofia. A project themed 'Enhancing the Integrity and Motivation of the Prosecutors. Criminal Prosecution in the Context of the New Challenges Connected with Organised Crime' was officially presented at the Conference Hall of the Courts of Justice in ...
Bulgaria, Switzerland to Cooperate on Raising Motivation of ProsecutorsNovinite.com

all 6 news articles »


Comicbook.com

Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch Motivation In Avengers: Age Of Ultron Revealed
Comicbook.com
movies-avengers-age-of-ultron-quicksilver-scarlett-witch It seems nobody gets along with Iron Man for long in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Spinning out of the same set visit report that revealed some of the groundwork being laid for Captain America: Civil ...

and more »


South Wales Evening Post

Excessive internet use reduces study motivation claims Swansea professor Phil ...
South Wales Evening Post
The survey also involved an internet addiction test and a study motivation assessment. Other factors taken into account were the known correlation of excessive internet use and higher levels of depression, loneliness and social isolation. "Students who ...



Men's Fitness

Spiritual Motivation from Deepak Chopra
Men's Fitness
Best Stress-Busting Foods Eat your way calm by putting these superfoods on your plate. I recently had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet spiritual guide, alternative medicine expert, and bestselling author Deepak Chopra in New York City for a ...

and more »


USCHO

After low point in Omaha, Denver finds the motivation to rebound
USCHO
β€œI think we used that the sweep at Omaha as motivation to get better in certain areas that didn't allow us to have success there,” said Montgomery. β€œI think that we've done that and have become a harder team to play against.” One change has been in net.



The Science Behind Motivation
Forbes
Being motivated is a key part of being successful as an entrepreneur, and as such, it's a subject that's always fascinated me. Motivation comes from vision, goal setting, and celebrating small successes, but there's more to it – there's actually a ...



Richmond.com

UR gains motivation from within, not from VCU's success
Richmond.com
Saturday afternoon's date at VCU allows the University of Richmond a 40-minute presentation to notify area hoops fans that the gap between the programs isn't as wide as it may appear. The Rams, winners of a dozen consecutive games, have the national ...

and more »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.