If you feel as though you’re receiving more mail than ever before, you’re right! The amount of information being sent to us has increased more than ever before.
If you don’t have a good system in place to effectively manage your mail, then you will eventually have an avalanche taking over your desk. Here are 5 quick tips that will guarantee you can process your mail on a daily basis:
1. Open mail every day. Set aside 10 minutes to open; discard outer envelopes and junk mail; and sort into “File,” “Action” or “Toss” piles. I highly recommend using a timer set for 10 minutes. After it rings, stop where you’re at and continue the next day.
2. File the “File” pile. Once you have completed the first step, you will now only have two piles of information to address, with the first one being “File.” Immediately file the papers that you need for reference only.
3. Act on the “Action” pile. Time to tackle your second pile of information. Open your calendar (or Outlook) and input all important dates that are communicated through your mail. Include contact information and locations if applicable. The papers can then be tossed, but if they’re needed, create a folder titled “Upcoming Events” and file in that folder.
4. Address remaining mail. The remainder of your mail items will probably be 'to-do' tasks or bills to pay. Put bills in your personally designated “Bills to Pay” area. Add tasks to your master “To Do” list, or schedule it in your calendar immediately. Any back up information needed for that task should be filed appropriately so it can be retrieved when needed.
5. Daily maintenance. Maintaining is the most important step. Make your mail duty a DAILY routine event (remember it’s only 10 minutes). By doing this, you will NEVER be buried again!
It really works. I do this everyday and do not have mail piled up. It now takes me less than 5 minutes a day.