Posts tagged: Family command center

Your Command Center for Papers

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In our busy lives, information and paper come at us from all directions all the time! Where does all this come from? It comes in with the mail, from school or work, or in your purse! These items require immediate action, with dates and times to enter on our calendar, bills to pay, or addresses or service providers we may need later. The Command Center is a space for information and paper that needs easy access and quick retrieval.  Keep organized with a command center for paper.

Command Center location

Our first decision is where best to create the space for this work zone. Where do you see these papers? In most homes, it is the kitchen since it is the hub of your home.  In the office it is on your desk or on your credenza.  However, if your home office is on the first floor and in a central part of your home, this is a great space to establish this area. Your command center for paper must be located where it’s most valuable.

Setting up your Command Center

Begin by reviewing the current clutter that’s on your desk or counter. Start by deciding what to keep and what to toss. Be decisive! This ensures keeping only what you need.

Continue by sorting your papers into the categories that work for you. Most people need these categories: to do, to pay, to scan, pending, and to file. Other categories include the names of each of your children and partner, weekly activities, other school and organizations’ papers.  At work these categories include your assistant, your boss, hot projects and resources.

 

Choosing your container

Now that you have categories, decide what organizing product might assist you best in keeping these papers in order. Look around the space, measure the area for size, and think about your personal organizing style. Look for a desktop file suited to the décor of the space with hanging files to label with each category. You can also use wall pockets, one for each category, if you have h ave vertical space.  Be sure to choose a product you love and this will help you stay organized.

A calendar and bulletin board are a vital tools in this area too!  Add a month at a glance calendar where everyone can record their activities.  Placing it where all the family or your work colleagues can see it helps everyone stay on top of weekly plans.

 

Command Center routines

Designate an administrative time for you to work  on the command center. This routine usually takes just one hour a week, especially if you choose a time you are high energy to get the job done. Write your administrative time in your personal calendar to commit to the time and make yourself accountable to get the job done.

 

 

Creating a family Command Center and a work Command Center makes the difference in keeping information accessible and easy to locate. Find the right space, the right categories, the right products and the right time to make this work for you. You benefit by having balance and peace of mind!

 

 

Want more ideas on a command center for papers?  Visit my pinterest board Command Centers for Communication and Cohesiveness.

 

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Paper Triage

 

paper management

 

We hear that philosophy, Only Handle It Once, OHIO, for paper all the time. But what if we thought of a new mantra for our paper strategy, paper triage.

 

What is paper triage?

Paper triage is when we sort the important from the trash. We make the first brutal decision of what to keep and what to eliminate. In this one step, we are taking paper from overwhelming to in control. We are making decisions about what is a priority or not.  Just like triage in the medical field, we are getting to what is most important first.  To be most effective with triage, we need to be honest about what we keep and why we keep it.  Empower yourself to make bold decisions and keep less.  Except for bills, many papers will come around again, such as electric rates, credit card offers, and information in general.

 

Resources for what to keep and what to toss.

If in doubt there are two great resources for what to keep.  On www.oprah.com, look at the ABCs of Important Papers by Julie Morgenstern (http://www.oprah.com/home/The-ABCs-of-Important-Papers).  This is a lengthy list of what to keep and for how long.  Also you can review on www.realsimple.com the five steps to simpler record keeping is a quick reference (http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/5-steps-to-simpler-record-keeping-10000000688976/index.html.)

 

Paper triage routines

Do you already do some sort of triage?  I hear from clients “I sorted my paper in the kitchen, but now what?  There are still piles!”   This is when we add admin time to a weekly slot.  We commit to a time we can now really work on the paper, again by prioritizing.  Make a list of the tasks associated with each paper, then review and prioritize.  Establishing your command center with these slots, Action, Pay, Pending,  and File, give you another visual reminder of what your tasks will be during admin time.  If you need additional categories, Receipts, School and Church may help you too.

Best time to triage? Its really up to you! Can you do it right when you get the paper and work at your command center? Do you need time without distraction?  Set aside this time daily to prevent being overwhelmed.

When will you do your triage and get your paper under control?

 

Need new ideas for paper management?  Check out my pinterest board Paper, Paper, Everywhere.

Your calendar and your master list

There are many systems to help you with time management. I have found that this comes down to integrating two parts, your calendar and your list. We all have so much to accomplish and we all want to be productive.  Try this and see if it works for you!  

Your Calendar
Have a great calendar you love! It can be paper or electronic, whichever is most compatible and engaging for you. It should be portable to travel with you and the format should be week or month at a glance. Rules for using your calendar include writing in everything regularly (from doctor appointments to work meetings) reviewing it daily. Add a weekly planning time for you to review what is coming up and adding items from your master list. This is the single most important tool you can have for time management.

Your List
Most people have too much to remember on a daily basis to remember it all without writing it down. Having a list keeps you in the moment, so that you can keep energy and focus on the project you are doing. Keep a spiral notebook or PDA with you at all times, so you can easily jot down notes and lists when the thought occurs. By consolidating all of this in one place you can review and prioritize actions and projects, combine activities and errands and be more productive each day.

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