Save Time by Limiting the Paper You Receive

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One way to manage your time is to limit the amount of paper you get every day. Many people receive more material via snail mail and e-mail in one day than they can read in a year. No one wants to miss news or seem out of it, but few people have time to read — let alone manage and organize — the printed gridlock paralyzing their inboxes and mailboxes.

The question isn't how to handle the information, because you can't. All you can do is decide what's important and try to limit what you receive. Here's how to cut down on the paper overload:

  • Cancel subscriptions that you don't read regularly. Don't immediately renew subscriptions to magazines you read infrequently — take a break for a couple of months and see whether you really need them or miss receiving them. Publishers are eager to have you back and may make you a sweeter deal than if you were a regular renewal.

  • Move to Internet-based subscriptions. Most quality publications now offer Internet-based subscriptions. They save time because you can search issues by topic and you can read only the articles that interest you. You can also search topics by date.

  • Get off mailing lists. Unsolicited correspondence easily makes up 60 to 80 percent of your daily incoming mail. If you're on one mailing list, your name is bought, sold, and bartered to numerous others before you can say "spring catalog."

    Most reputable firms belong to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Visit the DMA online and ask them to remove your name from its lists.

  • Take a sabbatical from the news. The news can be negative, biased, and sensationalized to attract an audience. Don't let that be you. If you're interested in a topic, research it in depth (remember books?). You may find that your news sabbatical turns into a permanent vacation. (If you do need a news fix, look for the online version of your newspaper of choice.)

    [Credit: Photo © iStockphoto.com/DNY59]
    Credit: Photo © iStockphoto.com/DNY59

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