Winning the war on paper

By Vince Panella

There are two important paradigms I want you to keep in mind about paper to keep it in proper perspective.

  • First is paper is to business what fat is to a diet. It's needed to be healthy, but we tend to go way overboard in our consumption or use of it.
  • Second paradigm is that paper is money. Every copy you make, every computer report you print cost money--from printing costs to storage and to retrieval.

Start a war on paper with these 13 tactics. Look at reducing paperwork and how much you store as a challenge to gain not only more time but to increase your company's profits as well.

Use the following tactics to help you:

  • Reduce the fear that you have to protect yourself by putting everything in writing.
  • Get in the habit of throwing paper away (recycle).
  • When in doubt throw it out.
  • Create a special safety net drawer in a file cabinet for temporarily holding papers you would like to throw away but are still afraid to.
  • Put only the bare necessities in writing.
  • Answer memos on the originating memo.
  • Copy only what you need at the copy machine.
  • Use the KISS Principle (Keep It Short & Simple) toward creating computer reports.
  • Reduce your filing.
  • Go through your files several times a year.
  • Handle paper only once if possible.
  • Dot your paper corners until you finally take action.
  • Use the telephone or e-mail instead of writing a formal memo.

Vince Panella, a partner of Dovico Software, is the founder of Success-Centered Time Management and author of The 26-Hour Day.


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