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Tips > Marlene's Tips

These are some of Marlene's tips on how to better organize your office, home or life. For more tips, please sign up for the free tips sheets and newsletters.

Clean Out Your Files Day

Purging files annually is made easier if you place a purge date on each document as you file it.
This can be done in red so that any assistant can purge your office files annually. In fact, it's a great idea to hold an annual "Clean Out Your Files Day" for the entire organization.

Make it festive and get everyone involved. You'll have fun, gain filing space and guess what?...even find some of those lost documents you've spent hours looking for!

Archive files that are never used and place them the furthest from you. At home, the garage is a place to consider.
Businesses should have a separate space set aside for Archival Materials.

We only use 20% of our files, so why thumb through the other 80%!

Make File Purging a Habit

Purge on an ongoing basis. Research shows that 80% of what we keep is never used. If a 4 drawer file cabinet holds 18,000 sheets of paper then the chances are that we are hardly ever using about 14,000 sheets. If you date your incoming documents and purge once a year you will cut down on a lot of wasted space.

Reduce Your Clutter

Clutter is the result of our inability to make decisions usually due to our lack of time. Desk tops and filing cabinets become overloaded with paper because we fail to make decisions when that paper arrives on the scene. Why do we postpone that decision? It is most likely because we have nowhere to put it so it goes in a pile. If 50% of your desk top is not cleared off at all times you are not working at your peak capacity!

Categorize Your Files

Separate your files into two categories, Action and Reference. The Action Files contain papers that you need to work with on a daily basis. They can, however, be divided into short term and long term projects. Reference Files are files that you refer to periodically like maps, passport, and social security info. They do not need to be interfiled with your daily files making those files easier to access. In fact, Reference Files can even be located somewhere else

Eliminate Sticky Notes Forever

Do you write phone messages, things to do and other important information on sticky notes and stray pieces of paper?

Do you spend hours looking for those notes?

Here's a valuable tip that will save you time and money:
Get a spiral-bound notebook or steno pad and keep it by the phone or close at hand.
I like spiral bound since it's easy to find quickly and we are less likely to lose it under a stack of papers.

Date it and keep all your notes and phone messages in it. Transfer only the important numbers into your permanent phone book.

Plan Ahead

How can we do all the things required of us?

The simple answer is to plan ahead and use one master calendar for family and business.

-Creating a written "TO DO" list and blocking out times in a daily calendar to accomplish tasks will keep us from biting off more than we can chew.

-Using calendar time slots for chores, appointments, errands and estimating how long each task takes will give us a visual of what our day looks like. By adding extra time for each task (just in case things do not run smoothly) can cut stress down significantly. Most of us feel overwhelmed when we are running from one appointment to the next with no time to spare!

-Using a portable calendar helps to keep us on track while we are on the go. This enables us to make adjustments as the day progresses.

Stop Unwanted Credit Card Offers

Here's an organizing hint to reduce your junk mail! In order to stop being listed on credit reporting agency lists for “pre-approved” credit card offers. CALL: Toll free 888-5-OPTOUT

Post Office Tip

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Did you know that you can retrieve a letter after you've mailed it? Simply go to the Post Office and fill out a Sender's Application for Recall of Mail. This service is free! Your chances are best if the post office is contacted before the mail is collected from their mailbox.

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