What’s Your Paper Personality?

Young woman sitting in chair and two businessmen looking at her

It’s true, we all have a paper personality. Some of us love the convenience of digital storage and email and embrace it. Others want to have everything on a piece of paper they can hold and feel. So what’s your paper personality? Take this quiz to find your paper personality and discover how you can improve your productivity going forward.

  1. When the mail comes in you:
    1. What mail? I get everything online.
    2. Shred it all after I’ve sorted it out.
    3. Toss the pile on a table and go through it this weekend.
  2. Your filing cabinet looks like:
    1. I don’t own one.
    2. I can find what I need, but I should probably clean it out more.
    3. Stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.
  3. You desk looks like:
    1. I don’t use a traditional desk. I work on the go.
    2. It’s fairly clean. But I need to deal with some piles.
    3. Paper, paper everywhere!
  4. My receipts and expense reports are:
    1. Filed, scanned and shredded.
    2. In process.
    3. I have no idea.
  5. My bills are:
    1. All done electronically
    2. Some are paper and some are online. I’m not sure which is which.
    3. Everything comes in the mail and I pile it up to pay.
  6. My scanning process is:
    1. I scan things as soon as they cross my desk.
    2. I have a scanner but I’m not sure how to use it.
    3. I don’t own a scanner.
  7. When I collect business cards, I:
    1. Scan then and store them in my digital address book.
    2. I put them on my desk and I’ll add them to a book later.
    3. I collect them in my bag and I search through them when I need to find one.

Mostly 1’s: Saving the Trees, Digital Style

You don’t like to keep any paper. The minute it comes in you’re already looking to get rid of it. Sometimes you throw away too much. Develop a system for the items you may need to keep long term. One small area to store paper is enough. Consider purchasing a safe or a safe deposit box for these documents. Keep in mind that most people aren’t able to operate 100% digitally so you will need to deal with paper some of the time, especially at your place of business. Knowing how to handle it in those circumstances is important.  Let others know that you would prefer they send things to you digitally if at all possible. You’re saving paper and the Earth!

Mostly 2’s: Goldilocks of Paper

You have some paper and that’s to be expected. It’s all about striking that balance between what you need, what you want and how to stay organized keeping both.  You have a shredding system and you use it and you know how to process your mail effectively. However, you could use a little improvement. Schedule time to clean off your desk at least once a day. I suggest right before lunch and at the end of the day. This allows you to start work with a clean slate every time you sit down at your desk. Spend some time with your scanner so you can use it quickly and easily when you need to. This helps prevent procrastination and increases efficiency.

Mostly 3’s: My Precious Paper

You love to keep it all. However, keeping everything doesn’t allow you to do anything. Set some guidelines for yourself as to what you really want to keep and how long you should keep it. Consider digital storage options for items that you need to save. Start converting your bills or other correspondence to a digital format. If you’re fearful of this process, do one at a time and adjust slowly. It’s all about making life easier for your self. Paper is time consuming to sort through. However, it takes less time to read and process one piece of paper at a time, as it crosses your desk, than it does to sort through a pile. When sorting large piles of paper, start from the bottom. The items there are the oldest and can often be discarded. Getting rid of your paper doesn’t have to be scary, just work at it slowly and steadily. Make sure you have a recycling bin and shredder handy when sorting paper. If you have a lot of paper to shred, consider using an office supply store’s service to save time.






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