Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Preparing to gather, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Now we're ready to start taking action. The first step that we're going to take is gathering. We're going to reduce the number of physical gathering points that you have and we're going to do it quickly. The way that we're going to do that is we're going to gather everything that's unprocessed into an inbox. When I say processed, I mean you know what to do with it, you know when to do it, and you know where it belongs. If any one of those three things is missing, what, when, or where, then it's unprocessed and it should be gathered.
You may have enough unprocessed items at the moment that if we gather them all, they won't fit into any one inbox. That's why I asked you to get those large boxes and to have them on hand. No matter how many boxes we end up with, think of it as gathering things into one big inbox. Before I actually walk you through an office and show you how to gather, we need to be very clear about what should be gathered and what shouldn't be gathered.
Things that you shouldn't gather are things that are where they belong. I use this phrase, "Everything has a home, "and no visitors allowed." If something is in its correct home, it's where it belongs. It's processed and it shouldn't be gathered. But if you have things mixed into a home, let's say we've got sticky notes on your computer, we want to pull those pieces of paper off and put them into the inbox. Also, set aside one special box right now.
You'll never repeat this step after the first gathering, but for this training it's important to do it. Call this temporary box the one week box. As you go through the gathering process, ask one question about each item: Will I need to use this or take care of this during the next week? If so, put it into the one week box rather than the other boxes. That box, that one week box, is going to be a place where you start processing.
This one time distinction allows you to develop your time management systems without getting buried in lower priority stuff. Put everything else into the other boxes. Absolutely everything. Don't throw it away, don't sort, don't organize. Just put unprocessed items into the boxes. Now that we have the ground rules set, let's begin.
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