This is such a common habit that we all have – looking at something, putting it down to deal with later, picking it up again, putting it down… you get the picture!
Zen Habits wrote an article called The Little Productivity Tip of a Zen Master which I thought my clients would really resonate with – and I know my readers will too:
Deal with something once.
Do it now.
Then it’s off your mind, and you can fully focus on the next matter.
Do most of us do this? We might read a bunch of emails, and say, “I’ll reply to those later. I’ll decide later.” We might see a bill or other piece of mail, and put it aside for later.
We put off small decisions and tasks for later, and they pile up, weighing on us at the back of our minds, pulling on us until we collapse under the weight of “later”.
Try dealing with it immediately.
If you open an email, make a decision on it immediately. Schedule the appointment in your calendar, reply, do a small task it requires, or if it takes too long, then you can put it on a to-do list — but avoid this if possible. David Allen suggests a two-minute rule: if the task can be done in less than two minutes, do it now. I suggest five minutes, even up to 10, as that means you have one less thing to worry about.
At any rate, archive the email once you’ve dealt with it, or delete it. You’re done with that. Move to the next, and repeat.
This applies to everything else: mail, paperwork, phone calls, requests from others. Deal with them immediately, or schedule a date to deal with it later if necessary.
When you are finished using something, put it away immediately and avoid a mess later. This is also how I keep clutter at bay. When you’re cooking, wash the items as you go to avoid a huge kitchen mess.
When your child asks for attention, give it to her now.
When your wife starts talking to you, put away the laptop, iPad or mobile device, and talk to her now.
What this means is that you deal with each thing in the moment, and then move to the next. Your mind isn’t pulled in a million directions at once.
To read the entire article go here: http://zenhabits.net/once/