Last week we discussed some practical ways to help manage your workspace, ensuring maximum organization to help you manage your time, duties, and employees in a more efficient manner. One factor that aids in helping keep your office in order is striving to eliminate piles. Piles of paperwork, of old documents, of items you have yet to get to, etc.

Taking that component of optimal organization one step further, we going to learn how to “RAFT,” an acronym for handling paper. Remember, no more piles. The goal of this exercise is to reduce the number of times we touch a piece of paper when going through the mail or when addressing our in-box.

R – Refer  Pass it on to another person to take care of. Never keep what you can refer, what you can delegate. Just write a note on the document and send it on.

A – Act      If it needs immediate action, do it now. If the action needs to be taken in the future, file it in your tickler file for the appropriate day. You determine when you will need to begin working on a particular project, then mark the date the project is due at the top in erasable pencil so you won’t have to reread the whole document. Place the paper into the tickler file for the day you will start the project.

F – File       Some items need to go into permanent files. This is why you should have an expandable file readily accessible. You will file under the appropriate heading and then once a day, transfer the documents to their appropriate, permanent location.

T – Toss     A trash can and shredder are important tools to have in your office. Use them liberally. Don’t keep even one unnecessary piece of paper. Toss and shred.

Next week we will go into further detail of the tickler file and other methods to aid you in effectively managing your tasks, leading to more resourceful project and time management skills you can teach your employees to ensure that your department runs as smoothly and productively as possible.