Messy_office.1How many times a day do you find yourself uttering the phrase "I'll just put it here for now?"  Postponing decisions on what to do with incoming information can quickly result in piles of papers, notes, business cards and email messages.  Learning to answer the following 5 questions, and having the appropriate systems in place to deal with the results, will help cure you of this bad habit in no time.


1. Do I need to keep it?

  • If the answer is no, then toss it or forward it to the appropriate owner.
  • If the answer is yes...

2. Does it require current action?

  • If the answer is no, then (a) file the information for future reference, (b) add it to your tickler file for future action or (c) add it to your "do someday" list of lower priority, less urgent items.
  • If the answer is yes...

3. What is the next action?

  • If there are multiple steps required, this results in a project plan.  With each individual action, ask...

4. Will it take <2 minutes?

  • If the answer is yes, then do it now!  But be careful, often actions take more time than you expect.  Try using a timer like this one.
  • If the answer is no...

5. Should it be delegated?

  • If the answer is yes, delegate the task and then add it to your "waiting on" folder or schedule a follow-up.
  • If the answer is no, then add the task to your calendar and/or to-do list along with an action date or due date.

Are you a visual learner?  Take a look at our Daily Workflow Process Diagram on our Facebook page for a pictorial view of this 5-question process.

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