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3 Tips for Keeping Clutter Off Your Desk

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 146

Tip 1: Update your master service or professional services agreement. Your contract should contain clauses that will tell you how you deal with the client's materials once the final work product is accepted by the client and final payment is made. As a business owner, I would like to keep myself disentangled from keeping every piece of paper that I have every worked with or on, even in light of the low cost of electronic storage. Specifically, my contracts (and most often the clients' contracts too) contain a disposition and retention clause. With this clause, I know what I will keep and what I will return to the client, thus giving me a level of comfort that requests from the client or an agent of the client or a legal representative of the client or any other person or agency requesting access to my computer records, will not come back to haunt me later.

I have reproduced the clause for you to consider either adding to your own contracts or to search to see if such a clause already exists in your contracts:

Disposition and Retention. All confidential or proprietary material (including copies and reproductions) received or generated in the performance of the Agreement will be returned to the CLIENT on completion of the contract unless the material has been destroyed or retention of the material is authorized by the CLIENT.

Tip 2: Organize your papers. I know this will probably be a hard pill to swallow from many of us because most writers are hoarders--we like to keep a copy of every piece of work we produce and we can give a million reasons why we should keep every scrap of paper. If you have ever seen the program Hoarders-Buried Alive on The Learning Channel, you can learn a lesson from the professional organizers who try to help people with the compulsion to save everything. At the end of the project (my preference is to do this at the start of a project), you should make three piles: materials you will keep, materials you will throw away (destroy), and materials you will return to the client. Presto! You have uncluttered your desk and minimized your risk to legal discovery requests.

Tip 3: Use First-in, First-out filing system. In accounting, first-in, first-out, means that the oldest inventory items are recorded as sold first. If you have bins that are stacked with important papers in them, the bottom of the pile just hibernates there for long periods of time. Instead of reaching for the top, dig down to the bottom and start evaluating whether the paper is still important but not urgent, if it's important and urgent, or if it's no longer important or has reached its expiration. Continue to evaluate each paper in this manner until you have three stacks of papers. File away papers identified as no longer important. Create a work list for papers identified as important and urgent. Finally, hang papers identified as important but not urgent using a magnetic paper clip (or push-pins if you use a bulletin board) so that they are visible and easily accessible to you when you have time to work on them.

With a little imagination, these tips can be applied equally to electronic papers and emails. In the end, you'll achieve more when you're organized. There are always barriers that hold you back from reaching your goals, but organized people find ways to eliminate tasks that aren't necessary and to streamline those that are taking too much time, leaving plenty of time to work on achieving all of those goals on your list.

Thomas J Purcell, MSPM, MSTC

Principal and Owner

Urtech Medical Writing & Consultancy, LLC

Source: EzineArticles
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