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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.
Your inbox is the most important tool when it comes to keeping your space organized. Your inbox will become the home for all unprocessed physical items. By home, I mean that if there's anything out of place, anything unresolved, or anything where you don't have a scheduled time in your calendar or task list to deal with it, you should go into the physical inbox. Think of your inbox as one big box that sits on your desk or close to your workspace.
Anything that you see that's out of place should be picked up and put into that inbox. Papers, receipts, cables, books, magazines, anything that's physical should go in there. Part of the problem that people have is they allow these things to pile up in different places and then in a whirlwind of frustration they put everything away. I call this binge-and-purge organization, and it's a huge waste of time. Instead, cultivate the habit of putting things into the inbox rather than putting them away.
Then at a set scheduled time you go through that inbox with a regular system and clear everything out, bringing it to empty at least once per week. I'll show you how to do that processing in a future video. Make sure that your inbox is large enough for your everyday needs with work. How big should the box be? Make sure that it's big enough that it never gets to overflowing. If you're someone that deals with just a handful of papers each week, then maybe a small plastic tray will work for you.
This is a great example of a large inbox. It leaves plenty of room for everything that you might encounter in a week without getting too full. Maybe you deal with larger items. For instance, I once worked with an interior design company that had swatches of fabric and granite and lots of different kinds of samples. They needed to go get a very large tote-sized baskets. There's no right or wrong inbox; get whatever works for you.
So take a moment right now and decide what inbox you're going to use for all of your physical gathering going forward. This is an important first step toward becoming more productive and getting more time.
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