The “Less Paper” Challenge – Week 1

Last week in my post The “Less Paper” Challenge I talked about the goal of having “less paper” and how hard it can be to achieve this in practice.  With me (and I’m guessing, most of you) the task of reducing paper just doesn’t rise to the top of the priority list!  So I decided to set some weekly goals and publicly announce them on this blog.  I hoped that doing this would actually make me stop procrastinating!

Did this ploy work?  Well yes, so far so good.  My first week’s goal was as follows:

Week 1:  Clear enough space in my two-drawer file cabinet for client files that are sitting out (because they currently don’t fit.)  I plan to do this by scanning and then shredding older files, making room for the more recent ones.

Here’s a photo of the files I was referring to, the ones that wouldn’t fit in the file cabinet:

Less Paper Challenge - Week 1 - Before

And here’s a photo of one drawer from my “packed to the gills” file cabinet! (The 2nd drawer looks much the same.)

I didn’t keep track of the exact time it took me to complete this goal, but I’d say it was in the neighborhood of 4-6 hours.  That included determining which files could be discarded, deciding whether they needed to be scanned, removing any staples in the documents, scanning the files with my and running the OCR utility, and finally naming and organizing the files on my computer.  Here’s a photo of the pile that was generated for shredding:

So now, there’s enough room in my file cabinet for the stuff that wouldn’t fit before.  But the cabinet is still pretty packed, so on to next week’s goal which addresses that problem:

Week 2: Clear even more from the same two-drawer file cabinet so that there is extra space (at least one third of a drawer) that can be used for future files.

In case you’re wondering how I plan to get rid of my big pile of discarded paper, stay tuned for my next post which will address buying a good shredder as well as some other alternatives for shredding your home office paper.  Fun stuff!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this description of how one person is dealing with her excess paper.  I’d like to challenge you to set similar goals for yourself, whether they be about reducing paper, or something totally different.  Setting your goals and then publicizing them can be a powerful way to beat procrastination!

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Related posts:

  1. The “Less Paper” Challenge
  2. Are You a “Paper Stasher”?
  3. Paper Shredders- You Get What You Pay For!


  1. Dan says:

    If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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