The title of this tip says it all! It is really important for productivity flow that you have the garbage can, recycling bin and shredder all within easy reach of your desk chair. The idea is that if you decide you don’t need a particular piece of paper, with a swivel or roll of your chair, it is easy for you to quickly get rid of it. Otherwise, we have a tendency to hold onto that piece of paper for longer. And be sure to empty your containers before they start to overflow!

If you do need the paper, report, or project you are holding in your hand, it is important to decide in that moment what the next step is: does it need to be filed? If so, use this rule: if it takes less than a minute, do it now. Really, this will save you lots of time later. Take the time to file it right then and there while it is in your hands. If you procrastinate and allow all the things that need to be filed to pile up, what will you end up with? Piles! Realistically, it takes less than a minute to file a piece of paper, so do it now.

If your office doesn’t have a shredder, consider getting one. Shredding papers with important information, such as account numbers, signatures, or credit card offers is necessary to protect you, your clients, and family from identity theft. I recommend that you purchase the most expensive shredder you can afford, as this is an important piece of office equipment that will make getting rid of papers easy. Like in many cases, paying less will lead to paying more because cheap shredders have a short lifetime and are cumbersome to use. All shredders should do crosscut confetti shredding and be able to process credit cards and CDs.

Be sure to oil your shredder occasionally with shredder oil or lubrication sheets, available at office supply stores. It is also important to turn off or unplug your shredder if you have dogs or small children in your home, as shredders can be dangerous if not used for their proper intent.
If you work in a large office with a communal shredding bin, be sure that you have a designated bin for papers that need to be shredded so that they do not get mixed up with the recycling.

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Depending on where your office is located, you may be able to recycle shredded paper. Check with your local recycling service by searching on the internet, “recycle shred paper,” and the name of your town. Be sure to check if they only take shredded paper, or if it can be mixed with the plastic from credit cards and CDs. Most recycling needs to be separated by content so if you are able to recycle your shredder contents locally, consider emptying your shredded paper before shredding credit cards and CDs.

If you are not able to recycle shredded paper locally, the shredded paper itself can be used in your compost bin. Again, you want to separate the plastic credit cards and CDs from the paper if you are going to compost it. Also keep in mind that printer inks use a variety of chemicals and this may not be the best content for organic gardens.

I have found that once my clients have purchased a shredder, they find it very satisfying to shred unwanted papers. Do you find shredding satisfying?

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10 Minute Office Tidy Tip 14: Phone Call Follow-Up System

November 23, 2014

Once you have your phone, pens, and message book in place, you can also create a system for following up on your phone calls. Perhaps it is at a specific time of day that you return calls: after accomplishing your top 5 things to do, when you know that it would be likely that you […]

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10 Minute Tidy Office Tip 13: Phone, Pens, and Message Book Within Reach

November 16, 2014

It is so frustrating when you get an important business call and you can’t find what you need to write on. To make your life easier, and sound more professional on the phone, always keep pens and paper near your office phone. If you use a cordless or mobile phone, have the pens and paper […]

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10 Minute Office Tidy Tip 15: Sort a Desk Drawer

November 9, 2014

Ok, you have 10 minutes, pick a desk drawer and take out what doesn’t belong there. Perhaps you have old candy or gum in your top desk drawer. Throw away pens that don’t work, highlighters that are dried out, or random keys you haven’t used in a year. If you have more than 5 pads […]

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Time Management

October 27, 2014

Whether you choose a paper or electronic calendar, it is so important to keep and maintain one calendar that incorporates both your business and personal activities. At this point, the smartphone technology has become easier to learn and use, but for those of you who still appreciate the kinesthetic anchoring of writing things down, be […]

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10 Minute Tidy Office Tip 16: Responsible Scheduling

October 20, 2014

Most disorganized, overwhelmed people I know want more balance in their lives. I believe that it is just as important to schedule time for self-care as it is to schedule all your business appointments. Remember to put both your business and personal appointments into your calendar so that you have a balance of both professional […]

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10 Minute Tidy Office Tip 17: What Can You Delegate?

October 13, 2014

How good are you at delegating? Is there someone in your office that you could ask to help you? Perhaps there is a friend or family member that could take on some of your tasks. Even if it takes you 10 minutes to think about what you can delegate to whom. This may save you […]

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10 Minute Tidy Office Tip 18: Share Your Calendar Updates

October 6, 2014

Once set up, it only takes a few minutes to share your calendar updates with people at home or at work. Families may want to sync their calendars so that appointments don’t get missed, and coworkers may need to share calendars to keep up to date on project deadlines. gives you step-by-step instructions on […]

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10 Minute Tidy Office Tip 19: Most Important Tasks First

September 29, 2014

This seems obvious, doesn’t it? And yet we all want to do the easiest tasks first to have a sense of accomplishment. It is so easy to develop a routine of coming into your office, checking your voice-mail and e-mail, and having that decide what you should do today. Creating the habit of deciding your […]

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