I Don't Have a Magic Wand - But I Do Have the 4 F's

I'm so thrilled that today's guest blogger agreed to impart her organisational wisdom here today! (Yes, that's an "s" in organisation). Helen Butler, of Australian-based Clutter Rescue, has been one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter (Follow her @ClutterRescue), with her practical and easy tips on how to get your home, office and life in order. Enjoy!

When you’re juggling children, work, friends, partner, and life in general things can get busy!  Finding time to keep your office paperwork under control can often be the last thing on your mind!

But what if there was something that promises to reduce the time in your office, to get done what you need and still have time for all the fun things in life?

No I don’t have a magic wand - but I do have the 4 F’s!

The 4 F’s will help you decide what to do with each piece of paper that comes into your home or office.  The key to complete success when using the 4 F’s is to:

1.      Allocate time.  Whether that’s daily or weekly you have to focus on organising your paperwork or it will continue to grow around you.

2.      Be decisive.  If you can use the ‘touch it once’ policy to make decisions quickly and then move on to more fun things.

3.      Enlist help.  Whether that’s your children, partner or flat mates, everyone in your home needs to take responsibility for paperwork.

4.      Set up systems that work for you and that look good – then you’ll be sure to use them!
So what are the 4 F’s?

Finish It
Decide if this paperwork can be dealt with immediately.  If so do it!  If you need a little longer put it into your ‘Finish It’ category and deal with it by the end of the day.

Forward It
Decide if this paperwork is really yours to deal with.  If not pass it on to the right person.

Paperwork that can be forwarded includes forms already filled out, something you’ve borrowed or something of no further use to you but of value to someone else.

File It
This is likely to be your biggest paper pile and contains documents you need to file for future reference.  Only keep items you absolutely have to keep.

Unless it’s tax-related set boundaries on how long you are going to keep certain paperwork (for example the electricity bill).

Fling It
This is my favourite category!  If you can get rid of it do it now!  Only keep documents you need for tax or future reference, and anything out-of-date goes.

I know that if you start to use the 4 F’s you will feel more in control of your paperwork – and can get on with what matters in life!

Helen Butler is Director of Clutter Rescue (www.clutterrescue.com.au) and an Accredited Expert Professional Organiser with the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers. Helen works with busy Mums to bring calm and clarity to their Space and Time.

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