Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up an inbox gathering point, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Your inbox is the most important tool when it comes to keeping your space organized. Your inbox will become the home for all unprocessed physical items. By home, I mean that, if there's anything out of place, anything unresolved, or anything where you don't have a scheduled time in your calendar or task list to deal with it, toss that item into the physical inbox. Think of your inbox as one big box that sits on your desk or close to your work space.
Anything that you see that's out of place, should be picked up and put into that box. Papers, receipts, cables, books, magazines, anything that's physical should go in there. One productivity obstacle some people face is when they allow these things to pile up in different places and then in a whirlwind of frustration they put everything away. I call this binge and purge organization, and it's a huge waste of time.
Instead, cultivate the habit of putting things into the inbox rather than putting them away when they're out of place. Then, at a scheduled time, you'll go through that inbox with the system I'll show you. You'll be able to clear everything out bringing it to empty at least once per week. So, how big should your inbox be? This varies according to your position and everyday work needs. Make sure that it's big enough that it never gets to the point of overflowing.
If your someone that deals with just a handful of papers each week, then maybe a small plastic tray will work for you. Maybe you deal with larger items. For instance, I once worked with an interior design company that has swatches of fabric and granite and lots of different kinds of samples. They needed to go get a very large tote sized basket. There's no right or wrong inbox. Get whatever works for you. This is a great example of a large inbox that would work for most people.
It leaves plenty of room for everything that you might encounter in a week, without getting too full. Take a moment right now and decide what inbox you're going to use for your physical gathering point going forward. This is an important first step toward becoming more productive and getting more time.
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