Take more action
Here’s the final step you need to take to keep your paper under control. People often stop at step 4. They get things organized and purged and they have a stack of paper ready to handle, but it languishes there.
Most of the time, it’s fear of decision making. Making decisions is time consuming, requires research, involves commitment and you could get it wrong. All pretty reasonable excuses for avoiding it.
Actually, all the preceding steps will help you get used to making decisions. When you identify what something is, you’re also saying what it is not (Identify to clarify). When you pare down what comes to you via mail, you’ve decided which things get to stay and which have to go.
In part three, you learned to be more ruthless. Very few decisions you make regarding mail are irreversible. You can always change your mind. Think of your decisions as experiments. You have a hypothesis you’re trying to prove. You don’t know if you’re right until you test it.
If you’re staying on top of it (part four), you’ve decided to intentionally spend time on paper management, rather than hoping it happens during your free time.
Action breeds more action. Here’s some inspiration to get that ball rolling:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
Now, you don’t have to climb the Himalayas tomorrow to get into action. Small steps are valuable too. Taking one small step can open the door to the next step, or the next five.
If getting started is hard, just commit to ten minutes. Set the timer and do ten minutes of bill paying, or filing. When the timer goes off you can stop. But if you’re on a roll, continue. If you schedule just one of these sessions a day, you’ll stay ahead of the game.
Give yourself the satisfaction of checking things off a list. I’ve had clients who wrote tasks on their lists that they’d already done, just so they could have the pleasure of crossing them out! I suggest keeping your list, so you are reminded of how much you’ve gotten done.