Paper Tiger Blog


The Paper Tiger Blog contains great ideas on better ways to stay organized, clear your desk, reduce stress and spend less time managing information.

Set Your Target and Throw Your DART! How to use the DART system to get through your paper piles.

This article by Stephanie Calahan, of Calahan Solutions and a Paper Tiger Expert provides a sure-fire decision ‘system’ in making decisions about dealing with the mountain of paper files that come through your office or home. Stephanie recognizes, as we do, that different people need different tools to help with their daily lives. She helps implement Paper Tiger Document Management Software and Filing System, which she recommends based on her clients’ needs and the way that they work. She understands that every person is different and requires systems that work for them.

Productive & Organized - We'll help you find your way.™

So, do you experience this….

You walk into your office and you say to yourself, “Today is the day!” You are excited and you say, “I am going to get this place organized and I’m not leaving until it is done!

Then… you pick up the first piece of paper, look at it, say, “Hmm, well… I’ll look at that later.” and you put it down. You pick up the second piece of paper, look at it, say, “Oh good grief!” and you put it down. The next thing you know, everything from the right side of your office has been moved to the left side of your office and you are tired and call it quits.

Paper can be overwhelming, but it does not have to be! I have worked with a number of people that think that they will never be able to get through their piles. Fortunately, it was not as horrible as they thought! They were able to get through their piles by changing the way that they looked at the piles.

Clutter represents decisions that you are putting off! So, why do we do that? Well, part of the reason is that when we pick up a piece of paper, we try to make too many decisions at once.

What is this? Where does it go? Do I have a file for this?
Where did I put the file tabs? And the list goes on…
Then we default to – keep it.

Then, we give up and make no decision.

Instead, use the D.A.R.T. system and you’ll hit your target every time. Download Stephanie’s DART System

The D in DART is for Decision. You have to make a decision about the items in the piles that you have.

The A in DART is for Action. There are different types of action, but no system works unless you ACT!

The R in DART is for Reference. We all have items that we keep for reference. There are specific tools that you use to keep those items where you can remember them. (see the DART system download above for more on that.)

The T in DART is for Toss. Now, toss does not necessarily mean throw away. I can mean recycle, shred, sell, does not belong in this room, etc…

8 Questions to Use as You are Making Your Decisions

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make the decision process process easier:

Does it require any action by me/us?
If an item requires action (a phone call to make, a report to write, a bill to pay, an outfit that requires altering) then it is an “ACT.” Keep everything that requires action in one location, so that when you have time, you will be able to go through and check the items off of the list! This is the A in DART — for action.

For a detailed look at how that might work for you, check out the video I did on YouTube a while back – Creating an Action Filing System for the Way You Work.

Are there tax or legal implications?
Have you talked to your council about the information you keep and how long you keep it? If not, you might want to consider doing so. Each industry has different documents that should be retained as does residential paperwork. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Is it recent enough to be useful?
Is the address book that has not been updated in 3 years really current? Just like food has an expiration date so do the things in your life. If you are keeping things that are no longer current, you are not allowing yourself the space for new and better things to start. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Is it difficult to obtain again?
Birth certificates, legal documentation, marriage licenses, company incorporation papers, the list goes on and on. If there are items that are difficult to find or obtain again, you may want to consider keeping the item in a container designated for that type of item. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Is it beautiful, useful or loved?
Are you keeping something that you think is hideous because it was a gift to you from someone special? Don’t. Only surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Most likely, the person that gave you the gift would not want you to keep it if they knew you did not like it. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Can I identify specific use?
Do you keep things because you might “need them someday?” That is fine if you #1, have the space to keep the items and #2 know what you are going to do with the item. If you are keeping something for the express purpose of keeping it, consider that item a little harder. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.

Does it reflect the person I was or the person I am now?
Are you keeping things that were important to you in the past, but really do not have the same meaning anymore? Does your space reflect who you are or who you were? Get rid of things that no longer hold meaning for you. If you answer “am” put in your Reference system; if “was” then Toss.

What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I get rid of this?
This one is one of my favorite questions! If you can ask yourself this question and find that you can live with the answer, then it can make it easier to let go.

Let me know how these questions work for you. Do you have questions that work for you that are not listed above? Tell me those too! Just comment below in the comment box or connect with me on one of my networking sites!

Reprinted with permission

About the Author:

Stephanie Calahan is The Business Vision Catalyst and founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. She works with purpose-driven entrepreneurs, visionaries, coaches, consultants, health practitioners, authors, speakers and all sorts of remarkable service professionals who are experts in their field, to help them embrace their brilliance, leverage their business and get their message out with power, ease and joy; so that they can make a powerfully positive difference in the world, exponentially grow their income and enjoy a highly-successful and meaningful business… while working less. Learn how you can have more freedom in your life!



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