3. Taking care of the mail

There are likely many ways to approach handling mail that may have stacked up while you were away. Mostly these fall into just a few categories: they tell you how to basically sort things, they tell you how to organize them, or they tell you how to delegate them. If you have the time to get organized, then you might want to check out some of the books that specifically deal with organization or prioritizing. However, if you just want to get a quick approach to handling a bunch of mail, then here’s my first guess. I hope that others will be able to contribute to this later so that you have a wider variety of possible approaches to this problem.

Is it Junk?

The first thing that I would do would be to quickly go through and sort between things that are junk mail and things that are not junk mail. I would consider junk mail things like advertisements, grocery store inserts, political mail, credit card offers, coupons, etc. Most junk mail can simply be recycled, but you will want to pay attention to any mail that possibly has information that should be kept private or confidential. Examples of this would include credit card offers. For information that has private or confidential information, I would suggest treading it, or if you have a large stack of that type of paper you might check out some of the shredding services that will allow you to shred by the pound.

Urgent or Important?

Okay, so having gotten rid of the junk mail, it is time to turn our attention to the rest of the mail. For this I would consider two aspects of the mail: how important is this? How urgent is this? For both of those you can either assign things a simple value like high versus low, or you can make it have even more categories.

The first thing on my list would be what I consider critical mail. What is high urgency and high importance? These are things that would have possible major consequences. One example is your utility bills.

Next up would be things that are of high importance, but not as urgent. These are things that you don’t want to forget, but not necessarily with major consequences. You can separate those and put them aside.

Next would be the things that are highly urgent but not very important. These are things that need a decision but they probably aren’t critical.

The last part would be things that are not urgent and not very important. These are things that are totally fine to get to some other day.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/ocd

Organizing (management) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organizing_(management)

Prioritization – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prioritization