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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.
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.
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