I like to think of myself as an organized person. I generally know where things are and what’s on my desk at any given moment.
But there is one pile of paperwork that often gets out of control. And from what I hear from clients, peers and colleagues, I’m not alone!
My stack of reading! Articles, papers, books, clippings. You name it, it’s there. And I also have a virtual stack of PDFs and bookmarks taking up space on the hard drive. All of it often creates a feeling of guilt and overwhelm when I see this pile of unused potential.
I love information and am an advocate of lifelong learning but the fact of the matter is that we will never know it all. And we don’t need to either.
Action – Here are a few tips to help sort out the mass of paper, real and virtual, that clogs up your space and mind.
- There are 2 types of reading – for work and for pleasure. Never mix the 2 stacks.
- Always carry reading materials with you. Take advantage of delayed flights or meetings by pulling out articles or clippings while you are waiting.
- Give decided time to reading each week. Whether for work or for fun, reading gives our brains an alternate activity from the ‘doing doing doing’ all the time.
- Limit the size of the stack by using a solid box file or binder to hold it all. Once its full, purge.
- Limit online storage too. Set a total allowable number by megabytes or documents and stick to it.
- When the next issue of a magazine comes out, throw out the previous issue. It’s old news now.
Remember, you don’t need to know it all and you certainly don’t need to store it all!