Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with a portable inbox, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- The second gathering point you'll want to select is one portable inbox. I previously explained that your main inbox is the home for anything physical that's out of place in your work space. The portable inbox is the mobile extension of that physical inbox. It's what you take with you when you're out on the road, or when you're out and about, when you go to the store. Really, any place that you go, with the exceptions of maybe a night on the town or perhaps participating in sports, you'll want to carry this portable inbox with you.
Then you'll be prepared when someone hands you a business card or a receipt or a piece of paper. You just put it in your portable inbox. Any space that's large enough for the type of paper that you receive in your day will work. To be clear, when I say a portable inbox, I'm not referring to an entire briefcase or a purse. You may have lots of other useful items that you carry with you, however, only one slot in that briefcase or purse should be designated as the portable inbox.
Or, if you're carrying a planner or padfolio, only one pocket in that planner or padfolio would be your portable inbox. For instance, this portable inbox is an example of something many of my clients use. There's one pocket in there that's large enough for a regular sized piece of paper, so if someone hands an item to me, I can put it in that pocket. Then, when I get back to my office, I take my portable inbox, open it up, and dump all of its contents into my physical inbox.
Choose whatever form of the portable inbox that works best for your situation. Just make sure that you have a clearly designated spot and it's something you're comfortable taking with you most everywhere you go. Now, just a comment from experience about the portable inbox. Some of you are uncomfortable with the idea of carrying around a large planner, briefcase or purse wherever you go. If that's your preference, let me recommend an alternative. Have a small pocket or high-quality file folder that you put in your car or your roller briefcase.
Then, whenever you're at an event or at a store and someone hands you something, you can take these new items back with you and put them into that folder. In general, I don't recommend this, because it adds two extra steps to your system that are unnecessary; one being that you have to remember to take the items back to that folder, and two being you have to remember to take that folder out of your car or roller, take it into your office, and dump it into your physical inbox, but, if you're concerned about carrying around bulk, putting a portable inbox in the car is an option that some of my clients have found helpful in the past.
Now's a good time to take a moment and decide what portable inbox you're going use from this point forward.
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