My friend, Raj, is a paper pusher in the worst possible way.
Don’t Be a Paper Pusher
Flowing through Raj’s office every day is the management of change records, sales leaflets, management reports for review, approvals, and contracts. Over the years, Raj has created a system of “The Pile.” It’s a system, designed by Raj, but it doesn’t seem to work. Never-the-less, Raj is a fan of “The Pile.” All the information that comes into his office ends up in a “Pile” on his desk. Raj has the right intentions to read and address each issue each piece of paper creates, but he is chronically busy with other projects or with meetings, and so he is constantly adding to “The Pile” not taking away.
When the first “Pile” gets too high, Raj starts a second “Pile.” Many times a day Raj is shuffling through “The Pile” to find a report or a bit of information that he needs to answer a question or finish a report. Once “The Piles” of paper overwhelm his desk, Raj brings in a table that he pushes up against his office wall. He carefully moves all “The Piles” from his desk to his tables. If Raj took “The Piles” and built one stack of them, I’m sure it would be over 10 feet high.
After a few months, Raj has two tables filled with “Piles,” but he needs more room so he breaks out the banker boxes, and drops each “Pile” into a banker box and pushes it into the corner. One day I will have to ask Raj what he does with the banker boxes because “The Piles” on the tables and desk change constantly, but the banker boxes never seem to increase in number. It is a true mystery, and I have spent a lot of hours trying to come up with an explanation. My best idea’s so far is that there is a black hole in the back of his office or there is a cupboard that opens up to Narnia.
Now Raj has a nice clean desk, and nice clean tables, and he’s ready to start the process all over again, except now instead of just having to go through the desk “Piles,” and his table “Piles” to find information, Raj also has to go through the banker box “Piles.” He has dedicated many hours to the scavenger hunt of information. He has even considered enlisting an assistant to search boxes to find items that don’t seem to be in “The Piles” anymore.
This is not a System
I suppose you could call this a system, but there are so many issues that it really needs to just be scrapped.
Help is on the way
Enter Chris Nixon Coach. Today Chris is teaching Raj about processing using the 2-Minute Rule. When paper or email enters your office, pick it up and decide what it really means and if you should deal with it right now. If it will take you two minutes or less then you deal with it right now! File it, or delegate it to someone else, or request to schedule a meeting. Whatever it is, as long as it will take two minutes or less you deal with it NOW! Don’t worry about timing yourself with each document. If it takes you three minutes or a minute and a half that’s no big deal. The concept is if it takes you a little bit of time do it now! The more you do it the better you will get at estimating the time needed, and soon you’ll be zooming through the 2-minute items.
However, if the piece of information will take more than two minutes to deal with then you create an action item for it. This could be a research document that Raj needs to read that he thinks will take him 45 minutes, or he might need 30 minutes to write a report or whatever it is. Raj now has a reliable process for handling paperwork. This one productivity tool has helped Raj increase his productivity, reduce his feeling of overwhelm, and just made his everyday life easier. If one productivity tool can do this much for Raj, just imagine the leverage of a system of multiple productivity tools being applied to Raj’s everyday life. He will be a focused, goal-oriented productivity beast!
Nowadays, Raj spends considerably less time (actually no time) going through “Piles” on his desk, and tables, or “Piles” hidden within boxes. He spends his time referring to his todo list, working on projects, and reaping the rewards of increased productivity thanks to the 2-minute rule, and thanks to Chris Nixon Coach.