I had three piles of paper on my desk, things accumulating mostly for me to Do Something with or file. These piles were approximately 30cm, 20cm and 10cm deep. Somewhere in these piles I knew there was a piece of paper I needed to find in order to complete my tax return. I'd already cost myself £100 by not finding the piece of paper before 31st January, and I was rapidly approaching the point where it was going to cost me £10 a day
not to find it.
A while ago I read siderea
's post about filing
, and realised her system was not far from what I was trying to do, and that getting things filed was the most useful thing I could do, and so I starting doing short bursts of filing the stacks, nibbles at the elephant, and managed to get rid of the smallest pile, quite a lot of which was no longer relevant and could be filed in the recycling bin. But then I kept finding more interesting things to do than nibbling the paperwork elephant, and so progress stalled.
On Saturday afternoon I made myself start tidying up the filing again. And for whatever reason, I found myself getting into the flow of it, and going back to it after interruptions for food and child-bedtimes, and just Not Stopping. At about 2am, most of the way down the last and biggest stack of paper, I found the vital piece of paper. And because it was already very late for me, and my sleep was already messed up, I decided to put it on one side and finish the filing job. And then I was still awake when that was done so I finished and submitted the tax return. Then I went to bed, leaving one full filing cabinet, one much-emptier desk, and one giant drift of paper on the floor destined for the recycling.
The oldest bits of paper in the piles were from August 2012, i.e. one month after Nico was born. So that's how long I've not been keeping up with the paperwork (there were odd runs where I had clearly kept-current for a few months but not caught up the backlog.) It is such a weight off my mind to not have the teetering piles of doom looking at me any more. The desk is by no means empty or even tidy, but what's left is things like photo albums and bundles of letters from my grandmothers and Charles's schoolwork from two years ago and so on, not financial paperwork.
It worked, but I can't say I recommend the binge-eating approach. I was exhausted all of Sunday, got very little done and only got dressed because nassus
was arriving. Today when another Thing arrived in the post, I made a point of reading it and then filing it straight into the relevant folder in the filing cabinet, not onto the newly-clear space on the desk. Long may this last.