Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Taking an inventory of your gathering points, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Let's begin by helping you live the principle of space. We'll start by finding out how many gathering points you have. Remember, a gathering point is any place where you gather unprocessed items, things like email, tasks, todos, ideas, busy work, assignments, projects, and so on. Unprocessed means you haven't clearly decided yet either what to do with it, when to do it, or where its home is. If any one of those three things are missing, what, when, or where, then that place where the item is located is a gathering point.
We've provided you with a very simple worksheet you can use to determine how many gathering points you have. On this worksheet, for each type of gathering point that you have, add one. So, for instance, in the example at the top of the worksheet, you'll see voicemail. If you have three voicemail accounts, such as personal voicemail, cellphone voicemail, and work voicemail, then the number you would put there would be three. For desk areas, if you had two piles of paper on your desk, then you would write two, and so on.
Pause this video now and complete the gathering points worksheet. Then come back and I'll discuss your results with you. Great, you've completed the gathering points worksheet. For many people, this process is a real eye-opener. Let's see how your beginning gathering points number compares with the average results that I've seen through the years of doing this exercise with clients. Prior to completing this course, the average person has between 30 and 40 gathering points.
So, if you had a number somewhere between 30 and 40, that's about average. The lowest I've seen from someone who hasn't completed this time management course is 12. Pretty impressive and that person was, as you might imagine, a focus master. The highest number I've ever seen personally is 161 gathering points, which, of course, came from a chaos master. If you're in that range, it's a significant number and we have a lot of work to do, but we also have the greatest opportunity for improvement.
Now that you understand where you fit on the scale of beginning gathering points, I'll tell you the target number we're going to shoot for. The number of gathering points that you want to strive to have by the end of this training is six or less. In the next videos, I'll explain what the six gathering points are and steps you can take to get to that number.
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