Chapter 20: How to Handle Work


One of the best ways to cut your work in half is not to do it twice. Probably your most fruitful source of dev-t1 is your own double work.

This is the way you do double work: You pick up a memo or a piece of work, look it over and then put it aside to do later; then later you pick it up and read it again and only then do you do it. This of course doubles your traffic just like that.

Make it a firm rule that when you find yourself handling a piece of traffic, you handle it. Don’t put it into your pending basket, unless it cannot be dealt with immediately. If you are given a message or a datum (a piece of information) that requires further action from you, do it right when you receive it, whenever possible. This is how you buy “loafing time”.

There’s no need to look busy if you are not busy. There is no need to fondle and caress work because there isn’t enough of it. There’s plenty of work to do. The best answer to work of any kind is to do it.

If you do every piece of work that comes your way WHEN it comes your way and not after a while, if you always take the initiative and take action, not refer it, you never get any traffic back.

In short, the way to get rid of traffic is to do it, not to refer it; anything referred has to be read by you again, digested again, and handled again; so never refer traffic, just do it so it’s done.

You can keep a communication line in endless foment2 by pretending that the easiest way not to work is to not handle things or to refer things. Everything you don’t handle comes back and bites. Everything you refer has to be done when it comes back to you.

Spring FeverSo if you are truly a lover of ease, the sort of person who yawns comfortably and wears holes in heels resting them on desks, if your true ambition is one long bout of spring fever, then you’ll handle every­­thing that comes your way when it comes and not later; and you’ll never refer anything to anybody that you yourself can do promptly.

1 dev-t: [developed traffic] unusual and unnecessary traffic.

2 foment: (noun) state of excitation.

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