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Gathering to your inbox: At your desk

From: Time Management Fundamentals

Video: Gathering to your inbox: At your desk

The more gathering points you have, the more switches will take place in your day, making you much less productive. In this video, I'm going to show you how to reduce the number of physical gathering points in your office. Before you begin, make sure you're in your office or your workspace. We're going to take all the gathering points that are physical and in your office and put them into the inbox. Make sure you have a temporary one-week box. This is where you'll put anything that you need to deal with or access during the next week.

Gathering to your inbox: At your desk

The more gathering points you have, the more switches will take place in your day, making you much less productive. In this video, I'm going to show you how to reduce the number of physical gathering points in your office. Before you begin, make sure you're in your office or your workspace. We're going to take all the gathering points that are physical and in your office and put them into the inbox. Make sure you have a temporary one-week box. This is where you'll put anything that you need to deal with or access during the next week.

Remember, you'll only use this the first time you gather, never again. You'll also need a good number of large file boxes. Most people need about five to seven, though you may need a few more or a few less depending on how unorganized your office is. We're going to take everything that's in here that's unprocessed and we're going to put it in the box. Let's start with the obvious stuff you have on your desk. Sticky notes are good for one thing and one thing only: making notes for someone else.

You're going to start using your calendar for the reminding. So we don't have to depend on whether or not you look at that piece of paper to remember when to do stuff. Let's rip off all these sticky notes and throw them in. This needs to be dealt with this week, so I'll put it in there, and the rest of these can go in the big inbox. Now let's find any other things that are unprocessed. One principle that really helps us do that is 'everything has a home and no visitors allowed.' So if you see something that's sharing a space with something else, I call that a visitor.

You need to get it out and put in the box. Then later you can process it and put it in its correct home. This pair of scissors is sharing the home with pens, so it needs to go. I also recommend that people use slots for plastic stacking trays. Use horizontal ones instead of the vertical ones, because it's easier to put things in and it's easier to get things out. All right! So this top page here needs to be dealt with this week.

I'll rip that out and put that into this week, and everything else can go in the big inbox, and I know this can too. Now let's check the drawers and see what we've got here. Everything has a home and no visitors allowed. So, looks like this should be the home for the pens. We'll put all the pens here, and this is the home for the clips so the clips belong there, paperclips here, and posted notes there, oh, and the batteries, get away from the gum.

Okay, so I recommend that you use divider trays like this, or even small baskets, and that way you can have more slots and have more homes. It's a great way to take a drawer that's just wide open and turn it into a place where you can have many different homes. Now I'm going to pull out the labeler. Creating labels allows you to be able to see where things are very quickly and remember how to put things away quickly. For just one example, I'm going to create a label called pens. I'll use this label to show where I'm keeping my extra pens, and it doesn't matter where you put the label; just put it some place where you can remember where you put it.

You can create many different labels for the different places within your drawer, but for right now, I'll just give you one example. Here is a good rule of thumb when creating homes: Things that you use multiple times in a day, such as pens or a stapler or even these sticky notes, you want to be able to have them right at hand. Things that you use maybe once a week, you want to have at some place like the drawers. And things that you use less than once a month, you can have them out of the room.

Now when we're gathering stuff, I don't want you to throw anything away. I want you to throw it in the inbox unless it's a banana peel or a candy wrapper. Here is why. We're developing muscle memory, so that when you see something out of place, you put it in the inbox. Many people are in the habit of what I call binge-and-purge organization. They allow the disorder to grow until they say, "I can't take it anymore!" Then they take a whole day, they throw things away, and they put them where they belong.

This becomes a cycle that they repeat over and over. By cultivating the habit of putting things in the inbox, you'll never get that disorganized ever again. So keep telling yourself, "Everything has a home, no visitors allowed," and anything that violates that, take it out and throw it in the inbox. But it looks like we've gathered everything here. When you come to your office every day and see all these things pushed aside into corners, it's actually very stressful and very draining on your day.

In the back of your mind you think, oh, I should've taken care of this. I should've taken care of that. Well, we are going to take care of absolutely everything in here. We're going to process it one at a time using the system that I'm going to show you. So in summary, here are your action steps. Number one, move all unprocessed items into one big inbox. Number two, remember to put items that need to be dealt with or accessed in the next week into the temporary one-week inbox.

Number three, don't throw anything away. Number four, remove anything that is visiting in the wrong home; these are unprocessed items. Number five, dump any miscellaneous drawers or files into the inbox; these are unprocessed items. Number six, create more homes for items as necessary. And number seven, label homes as you create them. Now that you've watched this video, it's time to take action. Gather everything from your office and put it all into your inbox.

This will help you cultivate the habit of never putting anything unprocessed anywhere other than your inbox.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Time Management Fundamentals
Time Management Fundamentals

52 video lessons · 68526 viewers

Dave Crenshaw
Author

 
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  1. 3m 31s
    1. Welcome
      51s
    2. Getting the most from this course
      2m 4s
    3. Using the handouts and exercise files
      36s
  2. 3m 35s
    1. Making a lasting change
      1m 44s
    2. Finding your personal motivation
      1m 51s
  3. 6m 16s
    1. Addressing the myth of multitasking
      3m 12s
    2. Understanding the consequences of multitasking
      3m 4s
  4. 7m 48s
    1. Understanding principle 1: Space
      2m 46s
    2. Understanding principle 2: Mind
      1m 47s
    3. Understanding principle 3: Time
      3m 15s
  5. 26m 17s
    1. Taking inventory of your gathering points
      2m 37s
    2. Narrowing your gathering points
      3m 46s
    3. Setting up an inbox gathering point
      2m 23s
    4. Working with a portable inbox
      2m 49s
    5. Getting the most from a notepad
      2m 35s
    6. Consolidating multiple email accounts
      2m 34s
    7. Consolidating multiple voicemail accounts
      2m 56s
    8. Establishing a wild card gathering point
      2m 47s
    9. Separating work and personal gathering points
      2m 21s
    10. Taking the next step toward controlling your space
      1m 29s
  6. 11m 24s
    1. Selecting your mind clearing options
      5m 13s
    2. Clearing your mind using mental triggers
      3m 23s
    3. Setting a mind-clearing schedule
      1m 54s
    4. Taking the next step toward keeping your mind clear
      54s
  7. 14m 2s
    1. Choosing the right calendar for you
      4m 4s
    2. Using your calendar effectively
      3m 55s
    3. Saying no to others
      3m 5s
    4. Saying no to yourself
      2m 58s
  8. 4m 21s
    1. Preparing for action
      4m 21s
  9. 14m 12s
    1. Preparing to gather
      2m 40s
    2. Gathering to your inbox: At your desk
      6m 30s
    3. Gathering to your inbox: Elsewhere
      3m 49s
    4. Dealing with full inboxes
      1m 13s
  10. 31m 2s
    1. Mastering the "what, when, where" processing system
      3m 11s
    2. Processing question 1: What is the next step?
      3m 22s
    3. Processing question 2: When will it be done?
      4m 33s
    4. Processing question 3: Where is its home?
      3m 49s
    5. Filing made simple
      4m 4s
    6. Processing your first inbox
      7m 27s
    7. Setting your processing schedule
      4m 36s
  11. 18m 31s
    1. Applying "what, when, where" processing to email
      1m 53s
    2. Setting up an email resource folder
      2m 58s
    3. Creating email rules or filters
      4m 14s
    4. Processing email
      5m 8s
    5. Processing email vs. checking email
      4m 18s
  12. 18m 1s
    1. Understanding "you time" vs. "work time"
      4m 9s
    2. Establishing "most valuable activities"
      2m 44s
    3. Identifying your most valuable activities
      3m 39s
    4. Budgeting time for your most valuable activities
      4m 11s
    5. Using your time budgeter
      3m 18s
  13. 1m 38s
    1. Maintaining your productivity gains
      1m 38s
  14. 3m 0s
    1. Dave Crenshaw on getting himself organized
      3m 0s

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