Monday, October 15, 2012

My Desk at the End of the Day

UPDATED 10/16/2012- I wanted to update this post to reflect the fact that mesk does not just look like this during the weekend, but in fact looks like this most every evening when I walk away from it.

I wanted to share what my desk looked like at the end of the day when all the paperwork is  done for the day. I want to be able to walk by my desk at end of the day or start of weekend and not freak out by outstanding items so my goal every after noon and particularly late Friday afternoon (though sometimes first thing Saturday morning) is to get my desk to look like this.  
There have actually been MONTHS where I have not seen the top of my desk.  It was several inches thick with paperwork. My outstanding paperwork certainly never would have fit into that cute pink plaid expandable file folder.
The daily file folder is empty until Monday when I will sort week 3 and start the process all over.  

If you still have questions about my paperwork system PLEASE feel free to shoot me a questions through the comments.

Hopefully I will get my post on my magazine problem obsession system done this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weekly paperwork

Ok, I know it has been a while since I posted and I apologize for that. I certainly want to finish this series and I already have my eyes on the next one... tackling magazines!

Ok, let me do a very quick recap.
1) take the monthly folder (ie October) and remove paperwork
2) sort paperwork into the proper weekly folder (think due dates on bills and paperwork for appts) In the case of October there are five weeks.
3) each Monday i pull the weeks paperwork out and sort into the daily folders.  This is week  2. Once I pull out all the paperwork I refile the weekly file and I won't see it again for another month. 

Ok, a few notes before I tell how i sort.  First, My goal is to only do paperwork Monday-Friday.  Five days a week is enough for me.  I would say it is probably more than enough for most households.  If you don't have a special needs child or currently not behind you might be able to dedicate one day a week to paperwork.  I don't ever see that being an option in my life.  I like bite size pieces as it keeps me from getting overwhelmed.  Once you get rolling with your system you will find what works best for your family.
Second, If this seems like overkill and a time waster, I promise it isn't.  Writing the post detailing how to do the weekly paperwork takes WAY longer than the actual process.  Tops I spend five minutes on Monday morning. 

Let's get going.

I lay out my Monday- Friday folders across my desk (when this first started I had to use my dining room table for this part. 

The first thing i note are due dates (ie bills on Thursday, paperwork for appts go on the appropriate day, etc)

I try not to schedule anything for Thursday other than bills.  Occasionally I will also have an appointment, but I do try to make that the exception to the rule.  It takes me 30 minutes to pay the couple of bills I have, make sure the checkbook is balanced and make sure I haven't overlooked any specialty bills.  Thursdays are pretty easy and consistent. 

 Once bills are out of the way, i look to see if there is anything still pending from the previous week.  Perhaps I am waiting on a return phone call or something to come in the mail.  Anything pending from the previous week I automatically add to my Monday file folder.  Mondays are pretty busy in our home.  Often times my hubby is off and we are working on special projects as i also try to get school work done, so following up on pending paperwork is about all I can handle.  Since hubby is typically off on Mondays I will also throw things in the Monday folder that i either need his help or opinion on so that I can address it with him.  He has come to expect this and it has greatly improved communication in regards to paperwork in the house.  Win-win all the way around. 

I use Tuesday's to make phone calls.  Most offices are slammed on Mondays anyway, so this is working out perfect.  i am finding that I don't typically spend as much time on hold and I am getting appointments scheduled and completed.  Tuesdays seem to be a very big homeschooling day here.  I am amazed at how much we get done.  It certainly makes up for Mondays which tend to be a bare-minimum day.

Somehow, and I am certainly not sure why, but Wednesday has become appointment day.  I don't think I could tell you the last time we didn't have an appointment on Wednesday.  I don't mind UNLESS I have three appointments like today that basically have me gone from 9:30-6 and then I (and everyone else) are so wiped out we skip church :(    I am working on a remedy for that.  I have moved a standing appointment to Wednesday which is not usually overly taxing so I am hoping as a result we will be less tired on Wednesdays so that we can get back into the swing of things with church because we are all missing our Family Bible Hour.   

We have already talked about Thursday being bill day so let me tell you a bit about Friday paperwork.  I save Fridays for special projects.  this could range from a household task like chore charts and menu plans to something home school related like transcripts or a new lesson plan.   On the other hand, it could be something more personal like genealogy research or scanning personal records.  Typically the items I have on Friday are not time sensitive, but I still need to see them to completion. 

Now, let me address the elephant in the room...

What happens if i don't get the days paperwork handled (either due to the pending nature of the paperwork or the simple fact that life gets in the way)???

Simple, I move it to the next day.  I always handle critical, time sensitive items first each morning.  Everything else is icing.  If it doesn't get handled the world will not end.  At the end of the day on Friday I take any outstanding items and quickly drop into the next weeks folder.  Life goes on and i enjoy my weekend. 

To read about my entire paperwork system you can go here, here or here

if you have any questions please feel free to post them in the comments.