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Five Simple Techniques for Surviving Information Overload

Contributed by: Elizabeth Hagen, CPO

From Dr. Ellen Taliaferro blog at

Productivity Consultant Shows You How to Find Anything in Your Office in 5 Seconds–Guarantees Results

In spite of the promise of the “paperless office,” studies predict there will be 50% more paper in offices by the end of 2005 than there was in 1995. Only 10% of the people in a recent survey by University of Washington School of Information were happy with the way they handled electronic information. Research shows the average worker spends 150 hours per year looking for misplaced information, but 80% of what we keep we never use.

If you’ve tried to organize your desk in the past, but it didn’t last, consider these tips from Elizabeth Hagen, CPO® to eliminate clutter, reduce stress, and increase results:

Take everything off your desk except what you must do.

Today’s mail is tomorrow’s pile. Put everything else you can’t throw away in boxes to deal with later. Create a new system to eliminate future messes – then you can deal with the past.

Clutter is Postponed Decisions®! Implement The FAT System

  • File it in a reference file or electronic folder in case you need it later.
  • Act on it immediately or in the near future.
  • Toss, recycle, or shred it.

Get The Magic 6™ tools for your desk to implement your decisions and eliminate unnecessary paper

  • Wastebasket/recycle bin/shredder
  • Sorting trays on your desk for In, Out, and File.
  • Rolodex or electronic database for contact information
  • Calendar/electronic planner for appointments
  • File drawer or box for Action Files – things to do
  • File drawers or boxes for Reference Files – papers you want to keep

Organize your Action Files to prioritize your work and manage your time

Categorize them by date (a tickler file), by category of action (Date Entry), or by project name.

Create an Index for your Reference Files

A filing software program, such as Taming the Paper Tiger, creates a file index, prints labels, and allows you to cross reference files. You can also do a “Google search” for the paper files as well as electronic files in your own office.

An organizing service offered by Hagen called The 8-Hour Miracle™ guarantees three results: (1) you will know what to do with every piece of information from that day forward, (2) you will be able to find anything you file in five seconds, and (3) you will have a game plan for integrating whatever you didn’t handle during the eight hours into the new system.

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About the Author:
Elizabeth Hagen is a dynamic and inspiring productivity expert and speaker who has motivated thousands to take action and get organized. She is President of and works with overwhelmed people to help them get focused, organized, and more productive. Her newest book and manual “Organize with Confidence” will change your life! Subscribe to Elizabeth’s free ezine “Extraordinary Results” at and receive the “31 Tips to Simplify Your Life” as her gift to you.

Posted on September 09, 2007