Keep a basket on the counter to put today’s important papers into. At the end of each day, take five minutes to put each paper into its own place, a place you have designated ahead of time, otherwise, you may end up with the result I often end up with — an EXCELLENT place to put something right now, but later I can’t remember where that excellent place is.
Allow yourself some particular amount of time to read an interesting article or magazine. Maybe a week? Maybe a month. But resolve that you will discard the item if it has not been handled within the time frame. Perhaps a post-it with the “due” date on it will be a good visual reminder of what needs to be handled promptly.
For important paper systems, in my case, the flex spending and Kepler’s paperwork, for two examples, keep a notebook with the papers filed chronologically and a summary page in the front. (Now, that sounds hunky-dory and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to someone, but is it really possible to keep up with these kinds of systems?)
Use a tickler file. 31 files with the numbers 1-31 representing the days of the month. File papers in the appropriate day, like in the date file you need to mail the item. And put all those items with “due” duates into the tickler file as well.
Realize that you can’t read everything. As you are whittling down your piles, think about each item — why are you reading it? What do you want from it? What do you think you will get from reading this? And what will you do with that info after you read it?
So, that will get me started. Feel free to chime in at any time.