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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 second gathering point you'll want to select is one portable inbox. I previously explained that your main inbox is the home for anything physical that's out of place in your workspace. The portable inbox is the mobile extension of that physical inbox. It's what you take with you when you're on the road, when you're out and about, or when you go to the store. Really, any place that you go you'll want to carry this portable inbox with you. Then when someone hands you a business card or a receipt, or a piece of paper, you just put it into that space.
Any space that's large enough for the type of paper that you receive in your day will work. Keep in mind that when I say a portable inbox, I'm not referring to an entire briefcase or a purse. You may have lots of other documents and papers in your briefcase. However, only one slot in that briefcase should be designated as the portable inbox. Or if you're carrying a planner or padfolio only one pocket in that planner or padfolio would be your portable inbox.
For instance, this is my portable inbox. I have one pocket in here that's large enough for a regular-sized piece of paper. So, when hands an item to me, I put it into that pocket. Then when I get to my office, I take my portable inbox, open it up and dump all of its contents into my physical inbox. Choose whatever form of the portable inbox that works best for your situation. Just make sure that you have a clearly designated spot, and it's something you're comfortable taking with you wherever you go.
Now, just a comment from experience about the portable inbox. Some of you are uncomfortable with the idea of carrying around a large planner, briefcase, or purse wherever you go. If that's your personality, let me recommend an alternative. Have a small pocket or high-quality file folder that you put in your car. Then whenever you're at an event or at a store and someone hands you something, you can take those new items back with you and put them into that folder in your car.
In general, I don't recommend this, because it adds two extra steps to your system that are unnecessary, one being that you have to remember to take items back to your car, and two being that you have to remember to take the folder out of your car, take it into your office, and dump it into your portable inbox. But if you're concerned about carrying around bulk, putting a portable inbox in the car is an option that some of my clients have found helpful in the past. Take a moment now to decide what portable inbox you're going to use from this point forward.
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