Sometimes it’s hard to make decisions quickly and when we have so many other things to hurry up and get done, taking longer than 2 seconds to figure out what to do with the mail we just pulled out of the mailbox and carried into the house is one second too long. So where does the mail go? On the first horizontal surface available. Plunk! And there it sits…on top of yesterday’s mail…soon to be added upon by tomorrow’s mail…and the next day’s mail…and the next day’s…well, you get the picture. And all the mail piles up and overflows and makes you feel horrible about yourself.
Stop. Remember you are a professional. Stand up straight. Put on “The Professional’s Attitude.” You own this situation. It doesn’t own or control you.
Here’s what to do:
- Get the mail out of the mailbox
- Keep it in your hand. Do not let go of it.
- Walk past the first horizontal surface in your home and straight to the paper shredder and trash can.
- Remember the acronyms: F.A.T. (File, Act,Toss) and B.E.T.R. (Bills to pay, Events to put on the calendar, Things to Read).
Now you can quickly decide what to do with the mail. Toss (or shred) anything that you immediately know you won’t need (circulars, ads, etc). Open up the rest of the mail and determine if it’s reference material you need to File (put this in your inbox to file during your office time) or something you need to Act on. For the “Act on” items, put the Bills in your inbox, mark the Events on your calendar, and put the Things to Read in your reading pile to get to a little later in the day. Toss all the empty envelopes (in fact, toss everything you can) and you’re done.
Do this quickly and assertively. You can go through the inbox or reading pile items more slowly and thoroughly later, but for now the goal is to get the mail processed and in its proper place in a decisive manner. Deal with the F.A.T. fast and make your life B.E.T.R. (I couldn’t resist). Be professional and you’ll feel great!