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Keeping it Simple, Mail and Email

You are in constant communication with friends, coworkers, and others.  This communication can be good, but it can also make it hard to organize home paperwork.  Take two steps to simplify your email and paper mail.

Today’s expectation is that we are all in continuous communication with each other.  This can lead to us being frequently completely inundated by mail and emails.  Do you want to get to organizing home paperwork and your home inbox?  It’s time to get started!  Knowing what to keep and what to get rid of is important when getting organized.  The following steps will save you time and help you to get your incoming mail prioritized. 


Step One:  Simplify Your Mail


Choose a spot in your home where you will do a daily sort of your mail.  Here is what you will need a recycling bin, garbage can and paper shredder, keep them close.  Have a system for when you bring mail into your home every day.  Dedicate a few minutes to go through your mail and sort out what you will toss, recycle or shred.  Organizing home paperwork will be much easier.  Any credit card applications and any other documents that contain your personal information should be shredded before you recycle them.  More than half of all identity theft happens as result of documents being stolen from recycling and trash bins.


Now you need to have an “Active File System”.  This Active File is a place where all of the papers and documents that you still need you to take action on go.  This includes bills to pay, forms to complete, invitations to respond to, and so on.  Your long-term home office filing system is different from your “Active File System”.  Your long term filing is where you will keep policies, taxes documents and other forms that you may need to reference later on.  The “Active File System” is for paperwork that still needs an action from you, it is the day-to-day paperwork.  Use a small portable file box near your recycling and shredder for your  “Active File System”.  This file will make organizing home paperwork faster and eliminate mountains of papers from springing up on your counters, desks, or tables.


Step Two: Simplify Your Email


Email belongs in one of three categories.  They are junk, emails that require an action or a response, and emails that you are just interested in reading or having as a reference (but that don't require you to respond or take action).


Take action right away when you open your email. Junk mail should be deleted immediately.  Mark the email as Junk permanently this way it will be automatically kept out of your inbox.  Next respond to your action item emails.  Don’t delay! If you don’t have one create a “To Read” folder.  Emails that you want to read or reference at a later time go in this folder. Set a goal to have an empty inbox at the end of every single business day. 


Bonus Email Tips


Learn to use your delete button!  You have no responsibility to respond to forwards.  You, in fact, don’t have to take the time to read forwards.  If you happened to be interested in reading a forward, but don’t currently have time for it put the email in your “To Read” folder. Now you can read it at your leisure.


Important Action emails should be responded to right away.  You don’t want to give yourself an opportunity to forget about them.  Or even have them become buried in an avalanche of less important emails.  Emails that require you to respond or take action don’t ever belong in your “To Read” folder.  Putting important emails in a “To Read” folder may cause you to lose them!


Finally stop responding to emails when the exchange has stopped serving a purpose.  Don’t take the extra time to send and read meaningless emails!


Simplifying your mail and email is an important beginning step in organizing home paperwork and also your home computer.  Since we spend a large part of our day corresponding with other people either via text messages, phone calls, emailScience Articles, or paper mail you have to know what is important and what isn’t.  This is central in being able to spend your time wisely.  Doing this will get you more time to spend with the people with you not just in your email!

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Heidi DeCoux is a productivity, organization & profitability consultant and creator of The Fast-Filing Method organizing home paperwork. To get a FREE home office filing system e-Solutions Kit, which features the audio class: The Fast & Easy Way to Get Organized and Stay Organized Forever, visit 

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