My Blogs

Paper Tiger

Caging The Paper Tiger

Hello, everyone! Barbara Hemphill here, and I’m thrilled to take you on a journey behind the scenes of my speech at the ASAE’s 10th Management Conference back in December 1992. Buckle up, because we’re diving into the world of “Caging the Paper Tiger: Filing Systems That Work!”

In this speech, I open up about my client’s struggle with paper management. When I started my organization business in 1978, I would help my clients organize their paper files, but they would soon forget what they were called and we would end up with duplicates or unable to locate them. The frustration, the time wasted searching for documents, and the constant battle with the paper tiger became the catalyst for my passion.

What this speech is all about:

I share my journey as an organizing consultant from drowning in paper to crafting filing systems that not only tamed the paper tiger but also transformed chaos into order. I explore the realities of paper management through an Information Management Survey. It’s not just about decluttering; it’s about understanding the significance of each piece of paper. I dive into the philosophy of “The Art of Wastebasketry,” where I share anecdotes and experiences that shaped my belief in letting go of what doesn’t add value.

1. The Basic Principles: Yours, Mine, or Ours?

Let me take you into the nitty-gritty of the basic principles. Centralized vs. decentralized files – a decision that stemmed from real-life experiences in managing information. Should you fix the existing system or start over? In my experience, the answer is to start over. Research shows that 80% of what we keep, we never use, so most of what’s in the old files can be thrown away.

2. File Management: Making it Work!

Ever wondered how to find a document amidst the sea of files? In this speech, I share my “Eureka” moment – shifting the focus from “Where can I put this?” to “How can I find this again?” We explore the why behind the information, not just the where. And the magic lies in a robust file index – a tool that revolutionized my paper management journey.

3. File Mechanics: Minimizing the Drudgery

Let me tell you about the tools of the trade. From my favorite labeling techniques to the responsibility of file maintenance, we delve into the mechanics of minimizing the drudgery. It’s about making the process seamless, efficient, and even a tad bit enjoyable.

4. File Clean-Out Day: A Tactical Approach

Now, this is where it gets exciting. I share the birth of the “File Clean-Out Day.” Picture an office buzzing with anticipation, large trash receptacles, and a team ready to declutter. This is not just a day; it’s a strategic initiative to create order. I share on how to make it a success, drawing from my own experiences in transforming cluttered spaces into streamlined work areas.

5. Special Filing Issues: Navigating Meetings, Travel, and More

Join me as I navigate the nuances of managing meetings, handling reading materials, and addressing pending issues. These aren’t just theoretical concepts; they are practical solutions born out of real-life scenarios. I share how integrating project files with your calendar can be a game-changer in your paper management strategy.

6. The “Art of Wastebasketry” Revisited: A Continuous Journey

I wrap up by revisiting the “Art of Wastebasketry.” It’s not a one-time event; it’s a continuous journey of refining the skills of decluttering. I share stories of the liberation that comes with letting go of what no longer serves a purpose – an art that transforms the way you view and manage your space.

Let me know how I can help you bring value to your audience.

I’m here to help you conquer your paper challenges. Whether you’re a business, an association, or an individual looking to streamline your workspace, I bring decades of experience and passion to the table. .

Ready to embark on your journey of conquering the paper tiger? Reach out to me by completing my speaker request form. Let’s turn your paper management challenges into success stories together!

The Economics of Clutter

The Economics of Clutter

Hey everyone, Barbara Hemphill here again!  I am thrilled to share the backstory of one of my favorite speeches, “Pay Me Now – or Pay

Read More »
File Indexing

File Indexing

Hey there! I am Barbara Hemphill, and I want to share a behind-the-scenes look at how the concept of the File Index evolved into a

Read More »