Use The D System To Get Organized And Reduce Clutter!
There is a simple system, known as the D system, that can help
you to be better organized and may also help to reduce clutter.
This system can be used at home or at the office with regular
mail, email, and inboxes. It can also be used with voice mail
messages. This effective system uses 6 D's:
Do - Delegate - Decide - Delete - Dump - Document files
The goal with this system is to use one of the 6 D's with every
letter, memo, report, email, newspaper, and magazine that enters
your home or office. Select the D that is most applicable for
each item before moving to the next item.
Do: If something only takes a few minutes to do, do it now. If
you need to review and sign a memo, do it and return the item to
the originator or send it to the next person on the routing
list. If you need to reply to a voice mail message or an email,
do it now. By doing it while it's fresh on your mind, it'll be
taken care of, plus you'll save time by not having to shuffle
papers or listen to the voice mail message again.
Delegate: If an item requires action, decide if it is best for
you to take the action or if the task can be delegated. Entrust
the task to the person most suitable for the responsibility.
Make a call, use an interoffice routing envelope, send an email,
or whatever method is appropriate to inform the person to whom
the task has been delegated.
Decide: If you are not able to read it or complete the task
right away, decide which action file that item belongs in.
Suggested files/bins include, "to be read," "to be copied," "to
be faxed," and so forth. It is essential to do whatever needs to
be done with these items within a few days.
Magazines and newspapers should be read and then recycled before
accumulating too many issues of the same publication. If there
are articles or recipes you want to save, save only that part
and not the entire publication. Create files to keep your
clippings organized. Also, review clippings once or twice each
year to dump any that you no longer want.
Delete: If you keep getting items you don't really want, do
something to keep them from coming to you again. Don't renew
magazines you don't read, opt-out of ezines or newsletters that
you're not interested in, and remove yourself from the routing
list for things that don't apply to you. If you get items you
know you don't want and you're not able to remove yourself from
the mailing list or subscriber list, then just toss it out as
soon as you know what it is. Recycle as much as possible.
Dump: Throw it out; there is no need to save everything! We
often put papers and memos aside and then forget about them. We
might occasionally look through the stack and we usually end up
putting the stack off to the side again. We still have the stack
of papers and we just waste time each time we reshuffle the
stack. If one of the other D's doesn't apply to an item, dump it!
Please recycle all paper, cardboard, and whatever else can be
recycled instead of just dumping it. Some items may need to be
shredded for personal or security reasons. Shredded papers make
great garden mulch, but don't remove any paper, shredded or not,
from company premises without permission.
Document file: If there is no further action to be taken and the
item can't be thrown out, then the item should be placed in a
document file. Documents that need to be kept include, but are
not limited to; proof of ownership, signed contracts/agreements,
financial and tax records, employee files, legal documents, and
insurance policies. Some documents may be thrown out after five
or seven years, while others may need to be kept indefinitely.
It is best to get the specific time requirements from a
qualified attorney or tax advisor. Documents to be saved can be
placed in a "to be filed" file or basket, which is emptied once
per week when each document is filed in its proper location.
A startling statistic is that 80 percent of the papers we file
are never referenced again!
So, once you pick up an item, you should select the best D and
take the necessary action before you pick up another item. This
system can help you be better organized and help reduce clutter.
You will no longer have to look at the same thing over and over
when you take care of it right the first time.