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You sit down at your desk and look at the pile of folders and trade magazine that you have stacked up. They are full of information that you need to read or plan to read or want to read. The mail delivery cart stops and drops off more magazines and mail. You pile the magazines on top of the ones already there and put your mail into the inbox that is also teetering with a large stack of paper.
Be realistic. This is harsh but it has to be said. If you don’t have time to read these things now, when do you think you will have the time? On your getaway? Take all the magazines and periodicals that are more than a month old and throw them out. Don’t worry, if you desperately need information that is in these magazines, you can get another copy. The person in the next cubicle likely has a copy in his teetering pile of magazines that never get read either.
There is no need to stop this very minute and read the mail that just came in or look at the magazines but before the day is over, pick up the magazines that just came in and look at the table of contents. Do any of the topics relate to your work or your interests? No? Toss it too. Do it now. Take a look through your inbox. Is any of the material in it out of date, already done, or the deadline missed? Toss it. Can you delegate any of the rest of it? Your inbox stack should be significantly reduced.
It is difficult, but in the interest of workplace efficiency, you now have more desk space and you have set yourself free from useless information and the nagging feeling of unrest that the unread stack was giving you. Make it a habit to set aside 15 minutes a day to deal with paperwork that comes to your desk. Do not set things aside to read later and deal with later. Do it now.