Let’s get organised and use our time efficiently.
Have you heard of the Touch It Once Policy?
I love it and we going to look a little more closely at it. I used it all the time when I worked in Occ Rehab and while some of it may not have been in alignment with what the boss at the time expected (Sorry Dave), it meant that I always got my hours (billable) and more and my clients got the services they required. It is also a skill that I have adapted to many different situations particularly now when I have multiple roles and juggle too many balls on a day to day basis. Which means you can do it too.
I usually use it in regards to paperwork or tasks that just need to be done. It reduces the piles, it makes you more efficient and it stops procrastinating on decisions. When we get paperwork, which we all do whether it is bills, accounts, letters from school, OH&S memos from HR (don’t we love those!), emails (the crazy amount of emails that we get surpasses any amount of hard copy paperwork we would have ever got in the past). It’s the day-to-day stuff that can really pile up but needs to be done, it doesn’t always need to be done ‘now’ but it needs to be done. These are the activities that we generally put off and leave and then they pile up and take us two weeks to do. So, you will need your diary and you will need to allow some time to consciously make this a habit, it might take a week, it might take a month, but keep working at it. In your diary or your calendar or your to-do list (hard copy or digital), you need to allow a space every day in the morning or the afternoon to master your Touch It Once Policy.
Depending on your role/job/position this will vary, it might be 15 minutes it might be 2 hrs. This time is to be used to pay the bills, reply to RSVPs (meetings, parties whatever), email the accountant (everyone puts that off), contacting the teacher, reply to the emails that you need to (that can be responded to immediately). If you do this every day or at least every second day for two weeks your pile/folder will reduce or be non-existent. If you find that you can’t be making the decisions straight away or paying the bills straight away then you need to review those other areas of your life that are blocking you from doing the simple tasks that should not take lots of time out of your day. If the task requires others involvement then pencil in for the next day to follow it up, but send the email, make the phone call, do the research in the time allocated.
In that time that you allocate to those to-do tasks or your One Touch Policy pile/folder don’t answer the phone, don’t multi-task, don’t respond to emails that are not relevant to this timeframe. This time is allocated to moving those quick tasks out of the way so that you can provide the attention to the more complex tasks of the day. Your boss, your partner, the kids or your mother may not feel that it is an efficient use of your time, however, once they see that it works they might adopt it too. Remember it is ‘your’ management of ‘your’ time that you can harness. If time management is an issue let me know at email@example.com