Making Decisions on Paper


A client was having trouble making decisions on paper (actually most of my clients have trouble making decisions on paper – very common.) I said something and she asked me to email it to her.

This is what I wrote: It helps to remember that the really important papers always come around more than once – a friend will follow up, financial papers you need to action get sent again, articles and FYIs can be found on the internet. Even bank statements and check stubs are there more often. Many things you can make a phone call and get another one sent. It’s just stuff and it’s hard to make a permanently bad decision with paper.


When you get into perfectionistic mode with paper, it’s easy to think that you might make a terrible mistake with the paper. The reality is that is highly unlikely.

If you know the basics, like how long to keep financial papers and have an action file set up and a working file system you can go from paper piles everywhere to papers controlled. My only unsorted papers are in my inbox, everything else has its place. And that feels great.

It took awhile to find something that worked for me and to create habits like sorting at least once a week. It helps that this is a self-purging system. I also have containers so I know when my in box is full, I need to sort. When my to file folder can’t hold more, it’s time to file. When my action file is too stuffed, I need to work through those items. Instead of letting them become pile after pile after pile.

How is your file system working? Do you have any paper piles to tackle?

1 Comment

  • Lori says:

    Paper is by far my biggest challenge – I am trying to make sure it all gets scanned to a computer that is regularly backed up and then shredded. I really enjoy the shredding part. 🙂

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