Remember a time when you were fully in control and how exasperating it is now, where 'processes' and 'systems' are the way things are done. the only place you have left is how you choose to do things.
Here are a few ideas to help you make a start.
Using Your In-tray Efficiently (Oh, And The Out-tray Too!)
Effective working practices will inevitably mean that you need to handle paper both coming in to you and going out from you, in an efficient manner.
That means you need an in-tray and an out-tray. The challenge is that many of us have these and use them badly. By developing a strategy for how you handle incoming and outgoing, you will find that this is less of a problem than it can sometimes be.
Some people will find this a bit of a stretch, because they have developed bad habits, so it's probably best to take things a step at a time, move out of the comfort zone and really measure what you are doing.
Remember the paperwork saying, 'If in doubt, throw it out!'. Some things do need to be kept - and then many don't. It might be worth the 'If I don't use it in 6 months, is it worth keeping?' test. Just don't throw out vital documents you must keep (ever done that...?)
Handle It Once - And Once Only
Whilst of the question of paperwork, effective working practices will be maximized if you get out from under the paper mountain. So, it's a good idea to try. Where possible, deal with each incoming by handling it just once.
You can do the following:-
1) File it - straightaway
2) Bin it - what a feeling!
3) Deal with it - personally immediately
4) Give it - to someone else immediately
5) Refer it - to a quiet time where you need to do something that takes a bit more time
The fewer 5's you have at the end of your incoming paperwork review, the better you are getting at this!
At The End Of The Day
Clear your desk. however tired you are, it takes but a minute of two to handle what you have lying around and make it tidy. Even if you make just one pile out of several, it's an effective working practice to make sure you are greeted each morning with as clear a personal space as possible.
What's more, if you're suddenly sick, or you boss calls in your day off, you will look a very effective person in whoever's eyes fall on your desk!
You will be amazed how delivering these simple effective working practices for yourself makes you feel in yourself.
Happier, more in control and on top of the things you have to do.
In a world of big business, in your environment you can survive with the fittest and make a difference to how you feel and work.
Martin Haworth is a business and management coach and trainer, working with a range of clients from corporates to individuals worldwide. www.MartinHaworth.com