Some day I would like to know why I can’t seem to control papers. I get into a groove that seems to work, and then it falls apart. You would think with all of the office supplies and organizing gadgets I’ve purchased over the years that I could keep clutter to a minimum, but it never seems to be the case.
I’ve been blessed to have very nice furniture made for my office. When I started working for our church, a member who builds houses and does woodwork built it for me. So when he asked about what I wanted, I specifically limited the amount of surface area. I have a tiny computer desk (almost too tiny, but that’s ok) built in between two bookcases. Then I have a writing desk, and that’s it. Yet even with that, the shelves on my bookcases, the tops of the filing cabinets across the room, and my writing desk get covered with papers. I just know that more surface area will only mean more clutter, since the amount of paper multiplies exponentially to cover the amount of surface available.
I was doing well for a while, after a professor introduced the TRAF technique. Basically, you take five minutes at the end of the day to TRAF: Trash, Refer, Action, File. When I stuck to this basic idea, it seemed to work ok. I still need some sort of vertical paper storage near my desk, since the filing cabinets are across the room, which I should probably just get a small file holder. This is just for items that need action, the stuff that tends to pile up on my desk and get mixed in with things that need to be filed or trashed or referred to someone else.
Of course, having the action file will only work if I use it. That’s always been my problem.