I needed to find a couple of important pieces of paperwork today for our tax returns. As I had this morning off work, I ploughed straight in looking through the ‘backlog’ boxes of paperwork in our bedroom without first thinking through where I might have put them. After a couple of hours I was physically and mentally exhausted and at lunchtime my husband offered to help.
We decided that his time was better spent making us some lunch so he cooked us fillet steak with a home made peppercorn sauce and some spinach and I cooked some oven chips. We work from home in different rooms all day and don’t always coincide with our lunch breaks, so we like to make the effort at least once a week to have a ‘lunch date’ and we both enjoy it.
Whilst my husband was cooking, he helped me think where the paperwork might be and I suddenly remembered a lever arch folder that I used to keep in the cupboard underneath the breakfast bar until it got full and I moved it somewhere. I never carried on with that system. I just started leaving paperwork in piles again. Why did I stop? I wrote two posts last year relating to last year’s tax returns that should have taught me a lesson.
‘Looking For Something in a Box of Paperwork’
‘File All Tax Paperwork in One Place’
The problem is that because of the tax year that it related to, the paperwork came in before I wrote the post so I’ll let myself off.
The realisation of where the paperwork was
Just before we ate our lunch, I went on a search around the house for the grey lever arch file that used to be in the kitchen and eventually found it under a pile of clutter in our bedroom. The file contained the missing paperwork. Our room is one of the areas that was left over from my challenge last year because we still haven’t made a decision about new wardrobes since the old ones got knocked out. So, our room remains unorganised and there still a lot of clutter to sort out.
Today, I’ve summed up the following issues that I seem to be facing ….
- I start temporary systems that partially work for me and then I stop using them. In this case, I should have started a new file when the other one got full and put it somewhere accessible.
- I forget where important paperwork is because I’m on autopilot most of the time (I could write a whole other post on forgetfulness and feeling disorganised. Note to self to be more present).
- Good systems that I’ve started are buried under piles of clutter which means that I forget about them.
- I get annoyed and embarrassed with myself when I see what I’m keeping in the backlog paperwork boxes and how unorganised (and old) it all is.
- I keep paperwork that I really don’t need, but thankfully I learnt some good tips from the online course this month about what to keep and not to keep.
Making a Start on the Backlog of Paperwork
Now that I’ve left a mess behind me today (and have no energy to clear any of it up) I will start working on the backlog over the weekend. After all, paperwork is a project that was also left over from my 2020 challenge last year and it’s about time that I made a start.
As a bit of background for those who haven’t been following me, I attended a two week online paperless workshop recently and have a new system for things coming into my life (more on that once it’s up and running properly). I also have a backlog that needs to be dealt with and it’s not pretty. It contains around a decade of papers that I’ve tried to sort over the years but haven’t really had time to organise it all. From the course, I learnt that I probably don’t need to keep a lot of it, so I’m determined to reduce the mound first before I introduce any of the backlog of paper into my new system.
A lot of what I came across today in the boxes of papers can probably be scanned and/or thrown away. The plan is to only go through the papers one more time; as I touch each piece of paper, I need to actually do something with it. I really don’t want a repeat of what happened this morning.
I’ll update you all on the different stages of my paperwork journey.
Until next time…
Paperwork, the bane of my existence. I have gotten much better though, by realizing that I didn’t need to keep most of it and by having to deal with piles of it was taking my free time away from me. I shredded and have kept it up. I get rid of paper immediately or file it the minute I get the mail. I have a file folder that is only for tax receipts and those things go in immediately, so I am not at my financial guy trying to find some slip of paper or statement.
I need to get better at paperwork too. I just know that once I do I’ll feel so much better. Thanks for sharing your tips 😊