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Effective time management is an indispensable skill. In Time Management Fundamentals, Dave Crenshaw explains how to sensibly allocate time in order to achieve greater productivity. Dave details a set of principles for staying organized, consolidating the workspace, keeping a clear mind, and developing a time budget. Also covered are techniques for managing a full inbox, processing email, and reserving time for the most important activities. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now that we've gathered everything from your desk, you may think that we're done, but we're not. We need to cover every single area where you might have gathering points. Remember, we did that exercise before, where we counted all those different gathering points that you have? We need to gather all of them. So now I'd like you to stand up and take a look around your office. Are there any places that you missed? Are there any spots behind cabinets where papers may have fallen or may have gotten lost? How about closets or storage areas? You can go into those storage areas and take a close look at them and ask the question, are there any visitors here that are in the wrong home? Remember, everything has a home and no visitors allowed.
We want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to gathering, so that we don't have to go through this process ever again. Cultivate the habit, from this point forward, that whenever something is out of place you put it in the inbox and nowhere else. You may have a question about large items. Let's say that you have a picture frame that needs to be hung up and it's larger than all the boxes put together. That's a common issue. If you have something that's bigger than the boxes, make a note to deal with it later and put that note into one of your approved gathering points.
That's a way of putting it into the inbox without having to look at all of the information, or to put the entire object in the box. Now that you've gathered everything from all the nooks and crannies and put them into the boxes, we have one final step related to your office. Take a broad look around your office and ask yourself, are there any changes that I would make here? Do you need different shelving? Do you want to repaint or redecorate something? Are there pictures that need to be hung up? And are there things on shelves you don't want there anymore? Any kind of aesthetic changes that you want to make to your office, anything that you see, write down a note and put it into an approved gathering point.
We've completed the gathering of the office, or your workspace, and that's usually where most of your unprocessed items are. However, what about some of the other areas? What about your car? What about your home office? What about your home? What about the basement of the garage? We also need to gather from those areas. At this point, you should be an expert in the process of gathering, right? You know how to find things, and you know how to put them in boxes. You understand the principle of everything has a home and no visitors allowed.
So pull out your calendar and budget some time to gather from those places. If you need to gather from your car, budget some time to gather from your car. Usually that takes most people only 15 minutes to a half an hour. Then budget time in your calendar to go through the other areas of your life that maybe we haven't gathered from yet--perhaps your home, basement, the garage, or a storage area. Whatever it is, write down enough time to gather from those areas. Usually it takes, for those larger areas, about an hour per room.
Remember, when you put something into your calendar, it's a commitment you're making to yourself, so please don't schedule something in your calendar that you're not willing to commit to. If you need more time before your schedule is free enough to complete this gathering, then schedule it out further. Schedule it out two weeks or three weeks to complete the gathering process. Once you complete the entire gathering process for every aspect of your life, you'll find that a strong habit has formed.
You'll find it easier to avoid falling back into binge-and-purge organization.
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