It happens to all of us. At work, at home, at school...in the kitchen, the office, the bedroom. Piles. Some people hit the piles immediately, and the piles remain small or even disappear. For more of us, though, the piles grow, and grow, and grow until a forest grows all around and the Wild Things are about to pop our of those pesky piles of organized chaos. Well, we claim they're organized. Chaos may be more accurate.
I don't use an inbox or outbox. I have To-do and Ta-dah! But I admit it, there's also a pile I just can't face. The cabinet behind my desk is organized in five trays, one for each weekday so I can find everything I need for a specific day's lesson plans and meetings. Next to those trays sits The Pile: the papers that don't fit in the trays, haven't been filed yet, and aren't high enough priority to come home with me at night.
This pile gets cleaned often, but not often enough. If I wait too long, any work there will be outdated and not suitable for the gradebook. Random sheets get filed or recycled; if it's not filed quickly, is it really important enough to keep? But every now and then I document it before and after I clean, correct, and record. Wow, what a difference!
Next fall when school starts, my goal is to minimize that pile. If I'm really good, it will never materialize. I know, realisticallly, that there will be more days than one when I'm simply too busy teaching to deal with paperwork. Then the pile will appear; my job is to keep at it until it's gone.