Quick! Can you find your homeowner’s insurance policy? How about that warranty you bought for your television last year? Would you know where to begin looking to find your child’s birth certificate? Even more important, if your home were suddenly destroyed due to some natural disaster, would you be able to present your insurance agent with a list of your entire home inventory?
If you spend precious time looking for important papers around your house, you’re not alone! Research shows that the average person spends 150 hours per year-almost one month-looking for information. And in spite of the myth of a paperless society, statistics show there is now more paper than ever before.
While the importance of being able to find information in an office environment is obvious, it’s easy to ignore the importance of being able to find information at home. Vital personal documents can clutter countertops and file cabinets. You end up with a disorganized mess that causes headaches and frustration later when you can’t find a specific piece of paper you desperately need!
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, don’t worry. Thanks to today’s technology there is finally a way to clear the clutter and keep an accurate inventory of everything you own-the item type, room it’s used in - even its value, etc.
In the past, there were only four things you could do with paper: toss it, stack it, file it the traditional way, or convert it to electronic form using a scanner. Now a fifth option is available-a software program that allows you to keep your information in paper form in your filing cabinet while using the incredible search power of the computer to find anything you want in five seconds or less. In other words, you can do an Internet- like search of the contents of your own filing cabinet, as well as other storage ages of your house!
Taming the Paper Tiger® software (www.thepapertiger.com ) is based on methodology described in the books by Barbara Hemphill. It utilizes one simple principle: Today’s mail is tomorrow’s pile. Research shows that 80% of the stuff we keep, we never use! Instead of starting with old piles, getting discouraged, and quitting, you can create a new system starting with today. As you need information from your old “system, ” you can incorporate it into The Paper Tiger system – or eventually it will be old enough you will feel comfortable throwing it away.
In addition to using the program for eliminating the search for papers, you can use it to organize other resources too – audio and video tapes, computer diskettes, CDs, your wine collection – even boxes in the attic. Just type in “Halloween” – and in seconds you’ll know just where to look for that Batman costume!
A simple-to-use, up-to-date filing and storage system will simplify your life and bring you peace of mind. . The next time someone says “Where’s the…?” you’ll be totally prepared!
© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com