If you can do it in under five minutes do it now
Do not take an action item. Do not make a to do list notation. Do it now and move on.
Know when to assign and when to just do it yourself
If the amount of time it takes you to write an e-mail to instruct someone on how to do something is not more than twice the amount of time it will take you to do it yourself – just do it yourself. When writing an e-mail instructing someone to do a task takes about as long as the task would take you have effectively just doubled the amount of work that needs to be done. That is the time to do something is the time to write the e-mail plus the time for the other person to do it. If you just do the task it’s only your time to do it. So unless Te-mail + Tother person to do it > (2 * Tyou to do it)) you should just do the task. This will keep you from effectively doubling the amount of time that it takes to accomplish the task. This applies to any one off task and does not apply to repeating tasks – for which you should consider the total net present time to do the task – future time being cheaper than immediate time.
This doesn’t mean that you have to assign a dollar or time value to everything that comes into your life. More generally it means that you need to make sure your are prioritizing things you do and how you react to situations properly. This includes knowing the difference between important and urgent and making sure that issues that have a priority of ten (life threatening) ”’are not”’ confused with issues that have a priority of one (mildly annoying).