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Setting your processing schedule

From: Time Management Fundamentals

Video: Setting your processing schedule

If you completed the task that I assigned to you earlier, then you've already spent one hour going through and processing items one at a time out of your inbox. If you haven't done that yet, I encourage you to schedule one hour right now to complete that task first before watching this video. Once you've completed that first hour of processing, you'll realize that while you're off to a good start, you likely still have a lot more processing to do. In fact, you'll always be processing, for the rest of your life. With processing, you're going to process every item one at a time from each of your six gathering points.

Setting your processing schedule

If you completed the task that I assigned to you earlier, then you've already spent one hour going through and processing items one at a time out of your inbox. If you haven't done that yet, I encourage you to schedule one hour right now to complete that task first before watching this video. Once you've completed that first hour of processing, you'll realize that while you're off to a good start, you likely still have a lot more processing to do. In fact, you'll always be processing, for the rest of your life. With processing, you're going to process every item one at a time from each of your six gathering points.

How do we handle that? The easiest way to do that is to set a recurring appointment in your schedule to do processing. My recommended weekly allowance of processing is five hours a week. Some people need less and some people need more. After you've worked your system for a while, adjust to your needs. But let's start with five hours for now. When should you schedule that five hours a week? To find the best time for your recurring processing schedule, consider the times at which you are least likely to be interrupted.

All of us have interruptions in our day, but there are also ebbs and flows in your weekly schedule to those interruptions. Look at your calendar and find the natural times at which you are least likely to be interrupted. For instance, let's say that earlier in the morning, I'm usually not bothered by other people. In that case, I could schedule every morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for processing. That would give me five hours a week based on a Monday-through-Friday week.

Incidentally, I recommend you do not schedule in increments of less than one hour of time. Why? Because usually you get in to your rhythm when it comes to processing at about the 25 to 30 minute mark, so schedule at minimum one hour at a time. You can even schedule entire chunks of time, such as five hours of processing in a day. What if I prefer to work in a larger chunk of time? I could schedule every Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

That's four hours, and I'll give myself an hour lunch break, and then schedule another hour from 1 to 2. That way I get all my processing done in one day. Are you concerned that I'm asking you to spend five hours a week? Keep in mind that you're probably spending two or three times that right now already. When are you processing right now? You're processing throughout your day back and forth, all over the place. All this system is asking you to do is to do it at a set time, at a set place, and leave all the rest of the time for doing the work, for performing the tasks.

Processing is simply the act of deciding what, when, and where. It's up to you to decide what works best for you. Right now, please pause the video and set up in your calendar your recurring schedule for processing, at least five hours each week. Then come back for one last step. Pause here to schedule your recurring processing here. We're almost done with scheduling your processing, but not completely. What about the backlog, in particular, the backlog of all those boxes? Some of you may not have had very many boxes when you did the gathering, but some of you may have many boxes--perhaps dozens.

No matter how many boxes you have, you'll need to schedule extra time for processing, just this once. In general, schedule one extra hour per large unfinished box. This means that if you had ten boxes beyond your normal inbox, you'll have to schedule an extra ten hours of processing. You don't need to go through it all now or even next week, but try to schedule this to occur as soon as you possibly can, and is reasonable for your schedule.

Try to complete the processing of these boxes within the next month. I've seen many clients have a very liberating experience when they bring the backlog of inboxes to zero for the first time. So please, once this video stops, go to your calendar immediately, and also schedule time for your backlog of large inbox processing. Schedule at least one hour per large unfinished box.

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This video is part of

Image for Time Management Fundamentals
Time Management Fundamentals

52 video lessons · 62525 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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