Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Gathering to your inbox: Elsewhere, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Now that we've gathered everything from your desk, you may think that we're done. Not quite yet. We need to cover every single area where you might have gathering points. Remember in an earlier chapter where we did an exercise to count all your different gathering points? Well, we need to gather items from all of them. So now, I'd like you to stand up and take a look around your office. Are there any places that you missed? Are there any spots behind cabinets where papers may have fallen or may have gotten lost? How about closets or storage areas? You can pause the video and go check those areas out.
Are there any visitors here that are in the wrong home? Remember, everything has a home and no visitors allowed. Please be absolutely thorough when it comes to gathering. If you are, you may never need to repeat this process again. You may have a question about large items. Let's say you have a picture frame that needs to be hung up and it's larger than all the boxes put together. That's a common issue. If you have something that's bigger than the boxes, make a note to deal with it later and put that note into one of your approved gathering points.
This will save us some space and time during gathering. After gathering everything from all hidden corners of your office, take a broad look around and ask yourself, "Are there any changes that I would make here?" Do you need different shelving? Do you want to re-paint or re-decorate something? Are there pictures that need to be hung up? And, are there things on shelves that you don't want there anymore? Any kind of aesthetic changes that you want to make to your office, anything that you see, write down a note and put it into an approved gathering point.
After finishing up with the office, do you have any other gathering points to consider? What about your car? What about your home office, or your home? What about the basement or garage? We also need to gather from those areas. At this point, you should be an expert in the process of gathering, right? You know how to find things and you know how to put them in boxes. You understand the principle of everything has a home and no visitors allowed. Let's not interrupt this course too much, though.
So, pull out your calendar and budget some time, ideally within the next 30 to 60 days to gather items from those places, perhaps your car, home, basement, garage, a storage area. Wherever they are, write down enough time to gather from those areas. Usually this takes, for larger areas, about an hour per room. Once you complete the entire gathering process for every aspect of your life, you'll find that a strong habit has formed, and you'll find it easier to avoid falling back into binge and purge organization.
One important final word, we just took everything unprocessed in your life and gathered it into one place. Do you feel relieved? Scared? Excited? Whatever you're feeling right now is perfectly normal. When I've asked coaching clients, at this point, "How do you feel?," many are concerned. They put all of their unprocessed items into one place but they don't know what to do with it. This is why moving on to the next chapter and completing the entire course is essential.
I'm about to show you how to handle every single item in all of those boxes. We're not going to do it all at once. We're going to take one step at a time, helping you learn new habits and new muscle memory so that pretty soon processing all these items correctly will become second nature to you. It will be as natural as putting on your clothes each morning. But first, we need to learn a new way of dealing with these items one at a time. Let's move on and I'll show you the first step to processing your inbox.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains