Could your disorganized work style lead to health problems? Yes, says Sandra Seick RN, the director of cardiovascular development with Providence Hospital. Chaos leads to stress, which takes itself out on the body. The primary organ affected by stress is the heart. Eat right, exercise and reduce your stress, advises Seick.


Not long ago, high tech gurus around the country were predicting that, by now, we would have become a paperless society. Though a heavenly vision, it simply hasn’t happened. In fact, with the onset of technology, people seem to be waging an internal battle, stuck somewhere between their old filing system and an increasing attraction to their computer and all of its paperless capabilities. The result is chaos, lost souls who, at one time relied on personal filing methods but who are now wandering aimlessly in a disorganized realm.


Today, it is estimated that 80 percent of all information is still paper based. U.S. and Canadian businesses alone generate over one trillion new pieces of paper each year In addition, the average time to retrieve and re-file a paper document is 10 minutes, and about 30 percent of documents are lost or misfiled and have to be recovered at an alarming cost of $120 per document. (Source: Gartner Group, Coopers &Lybrand, Ernst &Young).


“It’s not only frustrating to be disorganized, it’s just plain costly,” says Lee Donald, president of Organizing Associates Inc. in Mobile. Donald likes to quote a study by Coopers and Lybrand which found that the average executive wastes 150 hours per year looking for lost, misplaced, misfiled or mislabeled documents.


“People think that being organized is being perfect, but it’s not,” Donald points out. “Being organized is having a system that works consistently for that person.”


Though there are different software programs available to help people become more organized, Donald’s favorite one for filing systems is called “Taming The Paper Tiger.”


Describing it as a “search engine for your files,” Donald says the system integrates paper filing systems into a computer program that can help people find information instantly, reminds them of any activity they need to maintain within a file, and can even keep track of archived information stored offsite.


“You’re not getting rid of your files,” said Donald. “You’re simply logging them into a system where you can cross reference information and find things instantly without searching through a file drawer. It’s so useful that you no longer need to keep a single piece of paper on your desk. Your active files and information are placed within arms reach, so even your “things to do list” can be dropped into a file.”


Mark Glass, CEO of Southern Heritage Inc. is a believer in the Paper Tiger method. His three-year-old company was experiencing 10 percent com pounded growth every month of last year and this year, the percentage has been even higher.


“My desk was a three- ring circus,” said Glass. “We have 8,000 customers in our data base. I use my computer for everything, but when it came to paper; I didn’t file anything for fear I’d lose it. I needed to put my hands on that paper instantly.”


One day, Glass was watching television and saw Donald talking about the Paper Tiger system. He called her the same day with one simple sentence, “You are going to organize me.” Before long, Donald was in his office helping him put his papers into the system.


“With Paper Tiger, everything’s in the computer and files are numbered. It’s so simple, but it’s ingenious,” said Glass. “If paperwork bogs you down, you can’t grow. This enables you to get control so you can step up to the next level.”



Five Tips for Organizing Your Workload

1. Eliminate the non-essentials.

2. Prioritize your task or “to do” list using a 1, 2, or 3to indicate order of importance. Do one of each every day, so that the lesser important things do not turn into urgent matters.

3. Schedule appointments with yourself to get work done. Keep the appointment!

4. Define and delegate when possible.

5. Break projects into manageable steps and schedule the due dates for each step on a calendar for all involved.



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