Biggest way to save time, stress, and money? File as you go.

Now, this could apply to everything in your life, not just your email inbox or your paperwork. Zenhabits and mnmlst author Leo Baubata recommends doing dishes as soon as you are done with them. Much easier to face a couple of dishes now, than a sink full of food encrusted ones later on.

File emails as you read them. I am not saying you have to be a slave to your inbox and check it constantly. Quite the opposite. Set up times where you check your email, and times where you take breaks from email. When you check it, power through it and respond right away (people love when people respond to their emails rather than having to wait weeks for the “perfect” response, trust me.) If it takes more detail to respond, then file it under “to respond.” If it is something to file away, file it away. Do it now. Don’t let your inbox take over your life. Also, respect other people’s email inboxes. Keep them concise (I love the concept to be short and sweet). Respect other people’s inboxes. Ideally, respond in one thread to keep everything in one place.

Take the time to put things away when you use them. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” That way, it gives you a sense of completion, so you can fully be present for the next task. There are also what I call “levels of done.” Something may need you to take further action to finish, so just table that on your calendar for a later date, email someone who has the information you need to complete it, or declare yourself “done for now.”

Know when to say when. Sometimes, you can stop and realize that it will only take you 2 minutes to do the dishes. Other times, you have to walk away from the dishes and enjoy the party. Be present, and don’t use your “chores” as a way to take you away from what’s happening around you in the moment, and allows yourself to miss out on the richness of life.

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