You have a finite amount of time each day and reworking or reprocessing the same thing more than once is a HUGE time consumer. To digest large amounts of work effectively a productivity principle of “touch it once” is a must. This principle is something I’ve used for years and I wanted to share how I use it in practical ways to ensure I don’t have to reprocess work.
- Do it NOW, if you can – While most “touch it once” practitioners tell you to do something immediately if it takes you less than 5 minutes to do it, and while I agree, this doesn’t always happen for me. If I can’t do it now I write it down so I don’t lose it.
- Write that task down – losing or trying to remember a task that you’ve been given is probably the single biggest productivity problems and time wasters! When you lose track of a task, when it comes back to you it generally is urgent and out of your control. As long as you track it, you have control over it.
- Communicate with clarity – When you send an email or communicate something that needs to be done at a meeting CLEARLY state who is responsible, what the task is and when it is needed. Without clear communication others will check in and try to get clarity later. That means mentally reprocessing the meeting or email later. Be clear NOW.
- Don’t hoard information – If you are a single source of information you invite countless interruption to getting work done. Share information freely to enhance your own productivity.
- Delegate appropriately – Assigning tasks to the wrong person (and you might be the wrong person yourself) will waste time. Are you the right person to be doing that task? Is there someone better suited to do it? If you assign it to someone are they going to struggle because they don’t have the right information?