Do you walk to your mailbox, sort your mail, take only what looks interesting and then leave what you don’t want to deal with in your mailbox? No, of course not. So why do you do that with your emails? You open them up, glance through and move on. You click on the interesting ones and leave the rest. You know you do this, we all do, but it is a tremendous waste of time. When you deal with either type of mail it is important to only TOUCH IT ONCE (or as few times as possible). The more times you touch it, open it or stick it in a pile, the more inefficient you become. What I tell my clients over and over again is that “delayed decisions create the clutter in your life.” I know that you have heard it from me too! We get “stuck” in our lives because we choose to deal with it later. Making a decision about what to do with a piece of mail (either paper or electronic) the first time you touch it allows you more time in the long run. When you are dealing with either your mail or your email the same philosophy applies to the sorting process, you choose to either…
1. Trash it
2. Take Action on it
3. Reference it
After you have determine which of these categories your mail falls into, you do it. If you don’t absolutely need it, it gets trashed/recycling. Take action items means exactly that. Take care of it now while it’s in front of you (bills put with the rest of the bills, magazines in the basket with the other magazine, reply to that email invitation or respond to the questions now). Everything else gets filed for easy retrieval at a later date. Do the least desirable items first, get those off of your plate so needless energy is not spent worrying about them. In the end you will have more time to read those funny emails, watch that crazy video that your friends send or write a letter and put it in the mail.