It seems the more paper I scan in and store digitally, the more paper the postal system brings to my door. So this seemed like an opportune time to share how I process my inbox.

My physical inbox sits on top of a short bookcase immediately inside my office door, so as I come into my office, I can deposit any papers, mail, etc., immediately into it, instead of allowing it to pile up everywhere around the office.

So when I sort through my inbox either during my mini daily review, or the weekly review, I do it in stages. The initial sort is to simply sort the junk mail from the rest of it. As I scan through the envelopes, if it’s junk mail, I immediately rip it in half, and then place it in the trash. If it’s correspondence, bills, etc, it goes into a pile to be immediately processed (the idea is to not allow piles to accumulate everywhere else!).

Once the junk mail is out of the picture, I then go through the pile of papers left on my desk. Bills go into a “bills to pay” folder, to be processed at the weekly review. I then tackle whatever is left. As I finish processing each piece, I then either rip it in half as place it with the junk mail, or it goes into another pile to be scanned.

Once the paper is scanned and stored digitally, if I need to save the original, it gets filed in the filing cabinet. Otherwise, the original paper is destroyed as well.

It is absolutely mind boggling just how much paper I actually process every month! I think it would be safe to say that while daily, or even weekly, you could measure it in just number of pages, by the end of the month, inches would be a more appropriate unit of measure!

And I’ll be honest. It took me years to develop my system. And It’s a lot of work to adhere to it. However, I make the effort as I am still dealing with the ramifications of when I didn’t have such a well defined system. In fact, I just found a 10 inch stack of papers, in the bottom of a box, of what appears to have been deemed “important stuff”, but seems to be of questionable value now. And I still have a filing cabinet of papers I have been avoiding. The philosophy of “out of site out of mind” has worked quite well for the last 5 years. But seeing that I am still on my “purge and clean” spree, it HAS to be addressed, and I am systematically doing so by putting a file folder or three into my inbox every week.