Clear away the clutter

Taming office clutter requires daily effort; but the good news is that it only takes a few minutes today to save you many hours of shoveling out tomorrow.

Use bins to restrain your paperwork, including an "in bin" for everything you need to act on; an "in bin" for completed paperwork; a "read bin" for articles, lengthy memos or reports; and a "to file bin." You might also create a "meetings bin" and use a different color folder for each meeting you regularly attend.

Manage your "in bin" twice a day, by sorting paperwork into the other bins, completing it or delegating it. Keep your "to file bin" in control, too, by dealing with it on a daily basis.

Avoid inefficient paper shuffling, by touching each document only once. When this isn't possible, keep P.P.B. in mind: Process it, Put it away or Bin it. (But never procrastinate!)

Keep newspapers and magazines from ganging up on you by immediately clipping items you want to keep and filing them. Rip out long articles you don't have time to read now and put them in your "to read" folder. (Grab material from this folder to read while at lunch, traveling or waiting).