Touch It Once
Touch it once. Sounds simple, right? For some things, it is. I don’t have a problem putting dishing directly into the dishwasher after eating. It’s better than them piling in the sink waiting to be done. That’s an example of touch it once.
Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets of Successful People Know about Time Management, gives the example of bringing in the mail. Rather than stack it to look at it later, sort out the junk mail and trash it before you take it inside. Pay the bills immediately, rather than scanning them now, setting them aside to open them again later. If you have a set time on your calendar when you pay your bills, then take the envelopes unopened and put them in the location predetermined as your bill paying station. Why open them now if you aren’t going to do anything about them?
For me, my downfall is email. I have it on my phone as well as my computer. If I’m away from my desk during the day, I will check email on my phone to watch for anything hot. If someone sends me something I can answer quickly, I do. Anything longer has to wait because I hate typing on my phone. But that means I have to look at everything twice. And sometimes, by the time I get back to my desk, new emails have come in that haven’t been opened so they draw my eye. The ones I opened on my phone show as open, therefore fade into the background.
I need to remind myself that nothing that is that hot should be sent email. I need to wait until I get home and touch it once. That also includes immediately unsubscribing from unwanted email lists. I’m getting better at it, but I’ve also added an appointment to my calendar on Mondays to clean out my email.
Think of something that you can take care of immediately and be done with it, rather than returning to it over and over. Every second you save adds up.