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Now we're ready to start taking action. It's time to clean this desk. The first step that we're going to take is gathering. We're going to reduce the number of physical gathering points that you have, and we're going to do it quickly. The way that we're going to do that is we're going to gather everything that's unprocessed into an inbox. When I say processed I mean you know what to do with it, you know when to do it, and you know where it belongs. If any one of those three things is missing, then it's unprocessed and it should be gathered.
Now you may have enough unprocessed items at the moment that if we gather them all, they won't fit into one inbox. That's why I asked you to get those large boxes, and to have them on hand. No matter how many boxes we end up with, think of it as gathering things into one big inbox. Before I actually walk you through this office and show you how to gather, we need to be very clear about what should be gathered and what shouldn't be gathered. Things that you shouldn't gather are things that are where they belong.
I use this phrase: everything has a home and no visitor is allowed. If something is in its home, it's where it belongs. That's processed; it shouldn't be gathered. But if you have things mixed into a home-- let's say we've got stickies on your computer-- we want to pull those pieces of paper off and put them into the inbox. Also, set aside one special box right now. You'll never do this again, but for this training it's important to do it.
Just pick one box and set it away from the others. As you're going through the gathering process, I want you to make one important distinction. This one box is where you put anything that needs to be dealt with or accessed in the next week. Put it into that box rather than the other boxes. That box, that one-week box is going to be a place where you start processing. The reason for this is we don't want you to bury something that needs to be dealt with while you're still developing your time-management systems.
So just for the purpose of this course-- this time only--put everything that needs to be dealt with or accessed in the next week into this box. Put everything else into the other boxes, absolutely everything. Don't throw it away, don't sort, don't organize; just put unprocessed items into the boxes. Now that we have the ground rules set, let's begin.
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