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When paperwork lands on your desk (whether it’s a record you received from storage or it’s an incoming letter from a client), immediately scan the document and allocate it to one of the following four areas:

  1. Filing
    These are records that need to be integrated into your organization’s central filing system. Emptying the “Filing” folder should be on everyone’s daily “to do’ list. This ensures that recent information is integrated into the organization’s information resources and keeps information current for decision-making.

  2. Reading
    Take this file with you when you go to meetings where you can read contents while waiting for meetings to begin or during breaks, or when you leave for the commute home (what a great way to catch up on work while riding the bus or while traveling). The reading folder is a great way to avoid wasting time.

  3. Routing
    This is information that you don’t need, but it may be useful to someone else. If you’re in a large office that still uses routing slips, then use the routing slips to send the information to others and get it off your desk. If you want to receive the item later on, you can indicate this on the routing slip.

  4. Action
    This is your ‘to do’ list. Whether it’s something to sign, or requires major work, or just a simple response, place your action items in this file. Go through your Action file daily, systematically, so that nothing gets missed.