Hopefully you’ve made a good dent in your emails! Today, let’s talk a bit about having a physical inbox. Though we’ve spent a good deal of time this month talking about what to file or toss, we haven’t walked through the most efficient way to manage those keeps that don’t need filing.
I’d like for you to set up a “paper station” somewhere near whatever door your mail enters the house from. If it tends to pile up on a table or sideboard, set up the station there. Once you’re in the habit, consider moving the paper station to your office, but for now, this:
Place a recycle bin and shredder (or shred bin) under this area and a physical “inbox” on top. The inbox will ideally be letter size and only a few inches thick. We don’t want it overflowing. If there is just no room for a box, a file folder that can be stored upright will do.
As the mail enters the house each day, and lands in this spot, I want you to process it immediately. If it’s recyclable, into the bin it goes. Same with the shredding. If it needs to be filed, off to your file bin with it! And if it’s something you need to act on, such as concert tickets or a bill to be paid, it can go in your inbox.
Once a week, or whenever this inbox is feeling unruly, give it a good once over and recycle what you can. I find that magazine pages I’ve torn out to reread, have often lost their luster a week or two later and I can recycle them without guilt.
The key concept here is to know exactly where paper goes, the moment it enters your house: recycle, shred, inbox, file. That’s it. :)