Category: Office organization

The Lost World of Paper

This is not a science fiction story. It’s about the digital world of the “cloud”. I’m referring to cloud-based storage (online – on the Internet). At one time that was Sci-fi stuff, but not now.

In this digital age that allows us better online platforms to organize stuff, a lot of us still find it impossible to be paper free.

I’ve noticed over time that, with all the past talk of going paperless, it seems that we’ll never be completely 100% paper free. However we can cut down tremendously on paper by making use of the digital options available to us.

When my printer broke down, I found that I didn’t really need to print everything that I was printing before. Yet I still felt like I needed a printer, so I bought a new one. But now my daughter has that one.

Am I missing my printer? No, I can’t say I am. In the past 6 months, I needed to print one document and copy another. I just sent it to my daughter via email and had her print it or copy it for me.

I also cut my paper files down to a minimum since I no longer keep paper bank or credit card statements or bills. I pay bills online and access my statements whenever I want.

Since the file cabinet often becomes “The Lost World” of documents and paper, that’s a good place to start when trying to lessen your paper load.

I don’t print photos anymore either since these are stored in my iCloud account. Occasionally though I will get my favorite photos printed to put in a frame. This can be done at a lot of places, like Walmart, CVS, Office Depot, places like that.

If you want to organize your photos on a computer hard drive, a friend of mine scanned all her photo albums and individual photos and stored them in folders on the hard drive, She then was able to share the photos with family.

One of my past clients wanted to digitize a majority of his papers in files and bought a great high speed scanner – a Fujitsu Scan Snap IX1500 Scanner. By the time the project was completed, there were only a handful of file folders left in his file cabinet.

Although not in Cloud storage on the Internet, all his documents were available to him digitally and he could search and find anything fast and easy.

You’ll want to do your own research to find the best cloud-based storage options for you, but here’s a few commonly used ones:

  • Dropbox
  • iDrive
  • One Drive
  • Google Drive

I’m still saving up for the high volume, high speed scanner I want so, until then, I’m storing in the Cloud universe by uploading my computer and iPhone files to the Cloud.

If you’re tired of all the papers you have around, invest in a high speed scanner and donate those file cabinets!

How Paper Becomes Stuck In The Paperwork Flow

cyndi seidler about paper flow

If you live in a big city, you’ve experienced traffic jams on a highway trying to get from one place to another. And often times cars that were once flowing along an open road will end up coming to a complete halt when a pile up happens in a space only meant for so many vehicles to travel on.

That’s the analogy I want to use with paper. When paper begins to pile up, it will create a traffic jam in your office space. See, paper that is flowing into the space and not flowing out of it becomes stuck. A stuck flow, we can say.

Paperwork that is overflowing is as frustrating as driving on a road that’s stacking up with cars and more cars. When the flow of paper keeps coming in without going somewhere, it creates a pile up and we’re engulfed with what becomes paper clutter.

This paper jam can halt our productivity because, once we’re inundated with paper, it gets to a point of overwhelm. That overwhelm then hampers our ability to function well in the space due to the liability it’s caused toward getting anything done.

The flow of paper

If we were to draw up a flow chart for paper coming into our office area, ideally here’s what it might look like:

  • It enters the office area and lands in its designated “In” basket / box.
  • It gets picked up and looked at.
  • It gets handled (taken care of) by either:
    • Put in filing tray basket to be filed
    • Put in an Action file like “Bills to pay” or active project file
    • Put in a pending tray basket to finish or follow up later
    • Put in a shredder or shredder basket or thrown away
  • It gets dealt with (again) a little later if it’s been placed in an Active, pending or active project file to complete its life cycle (i.e., paid bills, forms filled out completed, correspondence written, etc.)
  • It leaves the Action / active file spots by getting filed, shredded or thrown away.

Where it breaks down in this flow is where it needs to be fixed.

For example, if the Action papers end up all mushed together in a pile on the desktop instead of a designated place to hold them until action can be done with them, that part of the paper flow needs to be fixed.

Likewise, if completed papers sit on the desktop with actionable papers, that part of the paper flow needs to be fixed.

When papers are piling up in the “File” tray, they eventually need to be filed or they will also create a traffic jam in the flow of paper.

The ideal paperflow (above) is how to repair your stuck flow of paper. In essence, think of paper like cars – paper comes in and they have to go somewhere and then eventually leave.

It’s really as simple as that.

The tough part is dealing with getting your flow of paper moving again once it’s piled up. Just put on your thick skin and dive in.

Enjoying Your Remote Home Office

For those of us who work from home or work remotely, we need to ensure our work space is not only functional, but enjoyable as well.

It goes without saying that clutter is the biggest enemy of an office. So, get rid of it first and foremost.

Now, I don’t usually write dated posts (time sensitive material), however this subject comes to you at this time because of the COVID-19 self-quarantine mandates which have sent a lot of people home to work remotely.

I’ll be getting into some of the essentials you need (and probably already have) for working remotely, but first I want to get into home office aesthetics.

Make your surroundings smile at you

Your office should be a happy office space. As for me personally, I love to surround myself with things that say, “This is me” – Things that I love and things I like to look at when I glance up from my computer.

As you’ll see from my own office photos (below), I love film-making and old Hollywood movies, so I have old movie posters on my walls, a couple movie clapboards, a film reel wall hook, even a director’s chair with an authentic Warner Bro’s back rest showing it once belonged to Clark Gable.

Other things I love which have a more functional nature include some not-so-typical office supplies. Like me, you could also find a decorative receptacle to hold your pens instead of a typical pen holder. Or a nice looking tray basket for your mail and/or paper instead of plastic trays. And why not use some pretty storage suitcases or bins to store office stuff in?

I love adding fresh cut flowers in the office space too. Live plants can lift the spirit of the room, as well. And let’s not forget some aromatic scents, like candles or a diffusion of essential oils.

Get the point? Put your personality and tastes into the work space and you’ll feel much better in it. As a matter of fact, the moment I did a recent office makeover, I find that I really like to be in there a lot more now. Go figure.

Okay, so now let’s get into some of what you need to work remotely …

Remote office essentials

Working remotely requires a different set of resources and tools. It would seem to me that you’re pretty much operating with what you need at this time, so I don’t want to elaborate a whole lot here. But I’ll give you a checklist anyway.

Equipment

  • Computer / laptop (duh!)
  • Printer, scanner, copier (an all-in-one machine is a good choice)
  • WiFi / High speed Internet
  • Surge protector
  • External hard drive
  • Noise canceling headphones
  • Shredder

Productivity

  • Platform used by your co-workers or clients
  • Cloud-based storage
  • Adequate software needs
  • Good communication technology (like email, Skype, Zoom, etc.)
  • Adherence to a schedule and routines

Office Space

  • A dedicated room or area
  • Comfortable chair (ideally an ergonomics chair)
  • Good lighting
  • File cabinet
  • Fire-safe box or case
  • Desktop supply and file holders
  • Tray baskets
  • Bulletin board
  • Sufficient storage for office materials / supplies

These are by no means meant to be a comprehensive guide on working remotely, but I hope it helps anyway.

By having what you need and having what you LOVE, you should now be complete.

Organizing Stuff Series 3 – Organize Home Office Papers

In this reality show styled segment of Organizing Stuff, you’ll see Cyndi Seidler working with a client in a home office to organize papers and establish a paper flow system. It’s the real deal, with a real client in a real situation.

Watch as Cyndi and client have fun going through the organizing process of sorting papers with client and establishing if paper should be kept and filed, if it requires some action, or if it can be tossed.

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