|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 Today, information becomes outdated very quickly.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 The information in a 6-month-old magazine article about computer software has undoubtedly been superseded, as has a downloaded product review from an on-line service.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
Hatchet-wielding man has authorities struggling to understand motivation - Christian Science Monitor
Stop Procrastination - Just do it!
What stops you from 'getting things done?'Have you ever started your day with good intentions of completing a task or project only to find that by the end of the day you've hardly worked on it? Or have you ever set a goal to attend a seminar, learn a new skill or just have more time out for you?I'm sure you have. I'm not going to write a long-winded explanation about the art of procrastination or "putting things off" but what I will do is share with you the secret of actually "getting things done"?putting an end to procrastination and just getting on with it.
Your Most Important Opportunity says a top UK Personal Development Coach
For some people this article will turn out to be one of the most important things they've ever read.I say this because some people are ready to get to grips with life.
Change 101: How to Get the Changes You Desire
Here's a bold statement:Change can be simple and easy.It really does not have to be so hard, although sometimes we make it much harder than it needs to be.
5 Keys to Maintaining Personal Change
I look out my window at daybreak as the sunrise creates tiny sparkles on sheets of frozen snow. Two mornings later, the snow and sparkles are gone.
Desire + Action = Outcome - Anxiety & Panic
This is my mathematical strategy I use to achieve everything I want in life. Allow me to explain?Now when I was suffering with anxiety and panic disorder I did spend some time just wishing and hoping it would disappear.
Optimistic Vs Pessimistic
Studies have shown that on average an optimist will have a longer, healthier and a more fulfilled life then a pessimist.In 1980 a study was carried out which monitored 122 men who had a heart attack.
Prime That Pump! Part 3
How healthy is your vision of yourself? How does your mental image of yourself stack up against that of, say, some hero of yours? Let's find out.Take a few seconds and picture yourself in your mind's eye.
Make It Happen Now!
Most people think that when they have chosen a path that's it - that's the path to follow. This is far from the truth according to leading Business Coach? Brad Tonini who has just released his latest book "Make It Happen Now!"I asked Brad to share his thoughts on why we don't get started to "Making Things Happen".
The Greatest Secret To Producing Real SOLID Excellence!
One fact stubbornly stays true: while everyone desires to succeed, only those who truly COMMIT to their dreams would be able to attain success. For most people, having MORE money, MORE freedom and MORE success is nothing but a feeble desire.
Two Ways to Feel Fear
In a memorable Depression-era radio speech on the radio, President Franklin Roosevelt declared, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."He was dead right.
The Easy Way To Lasting Self Motivation
Will power alone will never work over the long term. It isthe hardest way possible to get yourself to do anything.
Anxiety & Panic - Make Your Information Work for You
Whether you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks or not, there is a lesson in here for everyone.Some year's back my husband and I got our selves into a bit of a pickle where money is concerned (probably something quite a few people can relate to).
Avoid This Tendency And Youll Press Beyond Your Limits!
Inside of every one of us is the desire to press beyond our own limitations. Just forty years ago, the goal to land on the moon was a huge step for mankind.
Motivation: Small Changes, Big Results
When I was 8 years old, my parents let me go to the toy store with my buddy Mike and his Mom.My dad gave me a whole dollar to spend.
Personal Safety: How To Avoid Accidents And Live A Safe, Longer & Happy Life
Have you ever had an accident?Do you value your personal safety and that of your family?Most accidents may not be just accidents.Some accidents may be caused by our personal lifestyle, carelessness, wrong reasoning, faulty decisions, bad habits, wrong actions of conscious and as well as unconscious origin.
How to Make Bite Size Resolutions for 2005
It never fails. Another new year approaches.
Life's an Illusion
I'll get right to the point. Life is not necessarily what we think it is.
Motivation: 7 More Musings on Motivation
1. "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to that mountain, move from here to there, and it shall be done.
How To Get Motivated When You Have An Off Day
What can you do on days like these? Is there a way to get motivated and stay motivated?There are three simple yet powerful ways to pull yourself out of a slump. And best of all you can start using these strategies today.
ABCs for High Achievers
A im for what you want by focusing clearly on priorities.B elieve in yourself and your goals, and then begin to strive for them.
Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.