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I met with my business coach and we got to talking about the 3 dot rule. I’d never heard of it but Clive had used it before and I found it quite an interesting way to deal with paperwork. I could see why people would use it. It’s like the “3 strike rule” for paper!

How to use the 3 Dot Rule

So imagine you have all this paperwork (invoices, general post etc.)..how do you organise it all?

You start with dot no 1…you’ve seen the paperwork but for whatever reason you can’t deal with it now..put a dot in the top right hand corner, this indicates that you are aware it’s there (you’ve acknowledged its existence)…

A week later…

Your dotted paperwork is building up but whilst you are aware of its existence and you’ve looked over it – you still haven’t got the time (or perhaps you’re waiting on someone else’s input on it before you can action it)..whatever the reason stick another dot at the top right hand corner..

At this point you’re a strike away from total paperwork meltdown and if you’re at the stage where you’re reaching for the pen to add another dot (no 3) then you have two options; you can deal with the mounting pile of paper – action and file or bin it.

Rules like this one do work and help put controls in place but if you’re always at the 2/3 dot stage then perhaps you need to seek help with your paperwork.

You could also try a system using colours instead of dots (or use different coloured pens to mark your dots). Similar to the 3 dot rule but use colours to mark your paperwork (colours trigger certain responses in the brain when we see them). Whatever works, just as long as you’re in control of the paperwork!

What systems do you use and how do they work for you?

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