In this video, Dave Crenshaw shares how to process all of the things gathered in your inbox. Allocate time to process the items in your inbox. Dave also shares his three-part question for every item in his inbox.
- In my Time Management Fundamentals course, I talk about the importance of processing, using what, when, where. By what, when, where, I mean what is the next step, when will it be done, and where is its home? So in the last video, we talked about gathering all these things so that they don't steal your focus. Now, what do we do with them? They're in the inbox. So what's the next step? Processing is just another word for deciding. We need to decide what to do with all of these items that you put into your boxes.
So we're going to first need some time weekly to process, or decide, what to do with these items. Most people can get this done in about five hours a week, and that includes all the other stuff, not just physical stuff but email. Pick one item at a time out of that box. And then ask yourself, what's the next step, when will it done, and where is its home? For example, let's say that I pull an audio cord out of my inbox. This cord used to be on the floor.
Every time I walked into my office, it distracted me. It pulled my attention away from what was most important. So I picked it up. I put it in the inbox. But now what? What is the next step? Well, I need to put it away. When will it be done? It'll be done now because I can do it quickly. Now, where is its home means that I need to find a home for it. Homes are things that have walls and no visitors. Everything should have a home and no visitors allowed. So I want to create a home for cords.
If I'm not going to use something on a regular basis, I want to put it out of sight. So for example, in my office, I have closets that have specific Tupperware bins that have labels on them, audio cords, video cords, power cords. And I put it away. Now, how does doing all of this help with our focus? It protects it by giving us less mental strain. By knowing that we have a place for everything, we don't have to think about them anymore.
We can instead keep our focus on what matters most.
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- Maintaining focus for longer periods of time
- Using your calendar to preserve focus
- Building a mental firewall
- Establishing expectations and boundaries
- Making time for others
- Avoiding distractions in a digital world
- Improving your workspace