Paperwork is almost always a hassle. Avoid the stacks of junk and keep things moving with this four-folder system to prioritise every piece of paper you have to touch.
Photo by Phil
As organisation blog Organised Creatives explains, just about every piece of paper you have to deal with can be sorted into one of four categories: Hot, Bills, To Review and Inspiration. Each folder has a defined purpose (as well as a different timeline on when to review them):
1. Hot: In this folder, put anything you need to address in the next few days, such as background on a new client project that you need to review or a coupon that you don't want to forget for an upcoming oil change.
2. Bills: In this folder, put any bills that you receive in the mail, or which you receive via email but want to retain a paper copy.
3. To Review: In this folder, put anything that you don't need to deal with right now, but that you do need to process eventually, such as a tax receipt that needs to be entered or a magazine that you want to read.
4. Inspiration: In this folder, put anything that inspires you and which you don't want to lose. Interviews with other creatives you admire. Ideas that may some day mature into new projects. Ads for vacations you may want to take someday. As creatives, it's important to gather the stuff that inspires us, and review these periodically.
The key detail is how often you come back to each one. Hot implies what its name suggests: you need to deal with this immediately, so Organised Creatives recommends reviewing this folder every day. Bills should be checked once or twice a month, To Review every week, and Inspiration is something you can come back to once every quarter or so. You don't need those papers all the time, but you should probably check back at some point to see if they matter.
Long-term storage is another matter, but for the stuff coming across your desk, this system should handle just about everything you need.