Monday, December 29, 2008

What to do during a slow week

How about organize your stuff?

Computers were supposed to make us paperless. But you probably have more paper stuffed in files than ever before.

Here's some tips from the DLM Blog:

How To Go Paperless And Get More Work Done

Posted: 18 Dec 2008 02:54 PM PST

If you maintain a home office of any kind, it is likely that a significant portion of that office is loaded with some form of paper, be it files, bills, notebooks, or stickies.

To many, pen and paper seems to be an indispensable part of a workplace. However, soon you will realize that your old standbys have done nothing but add to your clutter and mess. Each day, the mess becomes more and more cumbersome to dig through when trying to locate that important file or the document.

The only way to get rid of the clutter and rejuvenate your home office is to go paperless. I know it sounds daunting to some of you but it is certainly possible; I've been paperless for quite a while now.

Listen, if you love your current system - stick with it! But, if you find yourself constantly irritated because you can't find a post it note from yesterday, a recipe that you scribbled down from some website, or your 83rd user name and password combination, then give my system a shot.

Convinced? Want to give it a shot? Good. Here are some tips to help you do that:

First, you have to decide what information you need to input into the computer and what you really don't require. You have to separate the assets from the liabilities sort of speak. Also decide which tools will help you work paper free. There is no dearth of great web based tools and software and my previous article on essential tool sets for web workers should help you get started.

Make a Plan
Once you've got the assets (important documents, sheets) and liabilities (useless stickies, etc.) separated, you'll need to make a plan as to how you would input the important stuff into your computer. Once on your computer, where are you going to put it. Is there one master folder with a ton of sub-folders, etc. The more folders, the more confusing it may get so plan to start small.

Get a Scanner
If you already have it, great, otherwise try to arrange for one. Manually feeding the information could be an uphill task and a time consuming one too. This is good because it will force you to really choose what needs to be retained.

Set Aside a Day
Very important. If you underestimate the importance of this task and take it lightly, you won't be able to achieve the goal of making the home office clutter free and organizing the information neatly in your computer. So make sure whatever plans you make, you set aside a full day to execute them.

Organize the Data
Once you are through with the process of transferring the data from papers to the computer, now comes the task of organizing it. Since you've already planned it, start working according to the plan and make changes along the way. The key is to group the data discreetly so that you can access them without going through several steps of click and open.

Use the Tools
Spend some time finding the right tools to replace your paperwork. For example, there are various web based tools and software for taking notes, organizing your finances, projects and documents and hence you should try them out and see which one fits your style of working.

Back It Up
Now you are completely on your computer and your data is stored in the hard disk which, unfortunately, is exposed to dangers of getting damaged without warning. So it's important that you either use an online service or an external hard drive to backup stuff. For more on this, refer to my previous article on important data backup strategies for your PC.

Dispose Of the Junk
Remember the liabilities? The useless paperwork ? Who needs the clutter now? Just take a final look at those sheets of paper to see if they contain anything important and then take them to the place they deserve to be in - the trash can. If the documents contain sensitive information, be sure to shred!

Congratulations! You are now working in a paper free environment. Not only does your office look cleaner and nicer, it is also a 'greener' office. Yes, paper is produced by cutting trees and your every effort to save them is highly appreciated. So give yourself a treat and vow to never return back to that cluttered and messy setup again!



Written on 12/18/2008 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps a nd online tools and how they can help you become more productive.Photo Credit:

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