Make It Easy


Thursday, June 14, 2001

Reduce magazine stress
by creating filing system

IF you are like me, you have a stack of professional and business magazines next to that exercise bike you don't use. This stack creates guilt and muddles up your nice neat space -- which also muddles up your brain. Here's an easy way to get through the stack and reduce your stress.

Read it when you need it.

Because my seminars are given to a wide variety of audiences, I do a lot of research. At one point I counted more than 32 periodicals coming to my mailbox in a month.

Add to that the myriad of catalogues and enticing junk mail, and you have quite a stack.

Here's a great technique. Create a filing system with topics of interest.

In the evening, when the kids are watching TV, grab your stack of magazines and join them.

You will need an exacto knife, post-it notes, a pen and a stapler.

Skim the magazines, cutting out any article that looks interesting. Staple it and write the topic on a post-it note. When you are finished, toss the magazine or put it in your kid's craft basket.

At the end of this, you will have about two inches of articles that matter, and two feet of ripped up magazines.

Now, here is the key -- there is no reason to read any article until you know you will need it. If you have a meeting in one month on networking your computers, you should read that article closer to the meeting date.

Put it in a "computer networking" file and move on.

For articles that are of current interest, you may want to create a "current reading" file. This you can carry with you on airplanes and to meetings. Instead of reading airplane or doctors' office magazines, get out your reading file and catch up.

All the other articles can be filed until you need them. I have collected articles on my seminar topics and clients for 20 years.

When the time comes to prepare a presentation, I pull out my files and review the clippings. If any are redundant, I toss them and keep my files current.

Beth Terry is president of Pacific Rim Seminars.
This column is excerpted from her upcoming book,
101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier. Send questions
on management, customer service and other issues

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