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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.
Once you've established your gathering points, a common question comes up: should you separate work and personal gathering points? In other words, should you have two of each kind of gathering point? Should you have a personal inbox and a work inbox? Should you have a personal voicemail and a work voicemail? My answer to that is try to avoid having two of each kind of gathering point if possible. The key phrase in there is "if possible," because for some people it's not practical for them to combine work and personal into one space.
A physical inbox, for instance, only works well for both personal and work if you're working from a home office. But if you have to travel to work and then have lots of unresolved things at home, you're probably going to have a personal inbox at home as well. Remember the principle that I shared with you about space: the more gathering points you have, the more switches you make. This means that every gathering point you allow in your life will slow you down, cause you to make more mistakes, and increase your stress levels.
So to answer the question of should I have one of each gathering point work and personal, my answer is try as much as possible to not do that. Keeping your gathering points down will increase your efficiency. It will reduce your mistakes, and it will reduce your stress levels. Most of the people I've worked with have found that when they combined gathering points and process work and personal together, they're much more efficient and much more effective.
Remember, processing isn't actually performing tasks; it's simply deciding what you're going to do, when you're going to do it, and where the homes for the items are. So you'll be able to schedule personal tasks and appointments during personal time and schedule work items during your work hours. So in short, try to reduce the number of gathering points by combining work and personal if possible. This will increase your likelihood of success. But this course is flexible enough that if you need to have both work and personal, you can still succeed.
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