|My bills were somewhere in here.|
Colleen took one look at my basket and stacks of paper and said, "You need a triage system. You probably don't even know where your bills are."
She instructed me to go out and buy three stacking letter boxes and a label maker.
"What do I need the label maker for?" I asked.
"Everything!" she said.
The first things to label were the three inboxes - To Pay, To Do, and To File. Colleen told me I needed to sort my incoming mail and papers daily into those three slots. Then I should schedule short windows of time once or twice a week to actually handle the paperwork.
After Colleen left, I headed to Office Depot and bought the file boxes and labeler. Then I came home and slogged through four weeks of mail and a two month backlog of filing. It took me over three hours, but here's what it looked like afterward.
|This looks manageable|
Even though I hadn't filed or paid a single item yet, it seemed much more manageable and friendly. Most of all that paper needed no action other than to be recycled.
|To the recycling bin with you!|
When I finally sat down to pay my bills, you know what? It took about 15 minutes! My "To Pay" slot was empty and I felt very virtuous. I immediately pulled up my calendar on my screen and scheduled more time for paperwork later that week. So far, I'm a week and a half in to my new triage system and the benefits are huge. I know where everything is, I know where I stand, and my credenza is neat and tidy.
Of course, with all that paperwork comes another stressor - the need for a filing system. Join me on Monday when a new expert, financial coach Kelley Long, tells us what keep, where to keep it, and for how long.
I'm trying to stick to the time I allocate for all my activities, including writing, which I'm finding really tough. I know this post would be much better written, wittier, and more useful if I spent more time on it. Arrgh. It probably isn't even grammatically correct. But I'm trying to write more frequently and can only do that if I write faster. So, it is what it is now. And I'm on to my next task!