Many of my clients - I would say even all of them - have trouble with paper. It comes into their home or office as mail, or maybe a flyer they were given by hand, or an email they printed out. But then they are not sure what to do with it, so they put it on a pile to deal with later, but the pile just gets bigger, and then the pile gets to be overwhelming.
If this sounds familiar - you are not alone. Everyone has a tough time with paper.
The problem with paper is that it seems important. It is printed all official-like, and it looks like you should keep it - but you're not sure why. So it takes up space in your home, and in your brain.
But here's the thing: you are the one who is important. The only value of paper is in what it can do for you.
If you're having a tough time with paper, try this exercise: Grab a stack of paper. Not a huge stack, just how much you can fit in your hand easily.
Now, look at each paper individually. This is key - just look at one paper at a time! You do not need to think about anything but that one piece of paper. Now, follow along with the decision tree below:
Start at the very top and work your way down through the yes and no answers - just for that one piece of paper. You might run into a place where the chart says to file the paper, and you don't have files set up. No problem - just put it in a clearly labeled "to be filed" pile, and move to the next piece of paper. We'll tackle filing another time!
It may seem cumbersome to work your way through the chart for every single piece of paper in your life. True - but once you have worked your way through it several times, you may not need it any more. The point is to help you think about paper in a new way - about what place each one has in your life, if any.
I'll repeat what I said above: you are the one who is important. The only value of paper is in what it can do for you.
Are you ready to tackle your first stack of papers?