With many projects and people attempting to grab attention, deciding when to handle is often the first question.
Actually, a prior question could be ” Is this something that I want to do, and/or is it something that I should do ? “
Should is a loaded word for some people – in this context I mean it not so much about what others think I should do, but as a definition of what my own choices are on what projects I am taking on, what I am investing my attention and resources in, and whether something falls within my overall values and priorities.
Another important question – is this something, either in content or by the time it will displace, that supports a secondary value but interferes with a primary value, or will get in the way of accomplishing a higher priority item ?
Not to get bogged in thought on any of the above, with practice a nanosecond suffices.
Additional inspiration: The Zen Habits tip for deciding to do something now: http://zenhabits.net/once/
If it passes my personal “should” test, then decisively giving it my full attention, doing it now, not having to “move it around”, physically or in my head, multiple times, will be the way to keep things from piling up. Handle it once so it gets done sooner, with the results adding benefit to me and others.
If it doesn’t pass my want or should test, then just get rid of it, or return to sender so they don’t keep sending more. Handle it once so it doesn’t take up more of my time and resources, remove the distraction to my priority projects, with the added benefit of potentially redirecting the other entity’s resources toward something more productive.