X is for Xeroxes
When I was a teenager, I'd ask my dad to make one copy of something I needed for school. He'd come home with at least ten copies. At least.
I grew up thinking that stacks of paper everywhere was normal. You just needed to file all of that paper.
During my teaching internship, my mentoring teacher gave me a great deal of fantastic advice. One piece was so simple, but has served me so well.
He told me that as a teacher I would get a lot of notices, flyers, articles, calendars, paper. Lots of paper.
He told me to assess each piece quickly.
If I needed that paper forever, then I should file it.
If I needed to do something with the paper, leave it on my desk so it would get done. Sooner rather than later. He added that administrators generally like the teachers who get paperwork back to them in a timely manner.
And finally, all the rest of the paper, toss.
I received this advice in the 1992-1993 school year, well before David Allen had written Getting Things Done.
Don't let paper piles get out of hand for you. File, act, or toss.