Only Touch It Once
How many times per day do you look at the same email, file or piece of mail on your desk that you wish you had dealt with long ago? It’s a quick task and yet there it stays!
One simple way to avoid procrastination and to keep things from accumulating on your desk or in your inbox is to keep this rule in mind. Only touch it once.
The general idea is that once you “touch” something, be it an email, a file, or a piece of mail, act on it at that moment, when possible. Quickly determine the action needed and just take care of it. Don’t set it down somewhere else so it’s left to be dealt with on another day. (And if you’re thinking, “why do today what I can put off until tomorrow,” you’d better call me quick for a new outlook!)
Of course this isn’t ALWAYS possible to follow this lesson since you can’t do everything the moment you see or receive it, but for many small things that land on your desk (or in your kitchen sink for that matter), if you deal with them as soon as they arrive, you’ll never have to waste the time recalling why you put them in the pile you chose and you won’t have to look at the small things piling up wishing you had dealt with them upon first glance. Get in the habit and it’ll change your life!