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Help! in box vs big project

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  • Help! in box vs big project

    Do you ever temporarily postpone all processing to complete a single big project? My in-box is toweringly full with vacation mail and notes to myself, my trusted system contains 3 weeks of "captured" ideas and data (unprocessed). But...I keep thinking that I could handle processing and organizing all of this better and faster if I finished setting up my office. The project "My office is set up to support my working efficiently" involves making space in present office for 4 two-drawer file cabinets that are in my old office, culling and removing their contents to storage boxes, moving the file cabinets in (easy when empty), transfering current filing system that is in bankers boxes to the file drawers, finding and setting up a supply cabinet, moving computer from living room to new office and obtaining a bookshelf. Those are just the bare essentials to get set up. How do I know if I am just deluding myself into avoiding my in-box?What would you do and why?

  • #2
    I would take care of the filing cabinets first the way you described (empty the old filing cabinets and put the active files into them) and then go at the inbox. Then go on with the rest of the project. I completely processed my inbox yesterday, which was overflowing with vacation mail, two days worth of business, and some assorted unwieldy objects. It took 45 minutes. I had already done a review two days before without even touching the inbox. There was surprisingly little in it that really needed my attention other than bills. But first I did an extraordinary amount of housekeeping which included completing a huge project involving the kids' toys. I will spare you the gory details but it sounds like it was about the same magnitude as your filing cabinet plan (not the entire office though).

    However I only processed the inbox. I didn't organize the few things that represented projects and next actions. I made a short list of those things to organize today. I make a distinction between those two steps to get through the inbox quickly. I don't see why you couldn't do that. Though I don't have a place for such a list other than back in the inbox, and I know that's wrong.



    • #3
      I like your way of thinking. Before I can even move the file cabinets in here I need to unload them and I need to make a space for them. I think space making may come first. I am about to start that!


      • #4
        Inbox PIle

        I would probably take the contents of the 4 file cabinets and put them in your inbox. Now, most plastic trays are not designed to handle the contents of 4 file cabinets, so I'd cord off a section of the office for putting back into the file cabinets. That's a temporary inbox. I'd also put the bankers boxes and what-not in that inbox as well. Then pick each piece up and put it where it needs to go. If you feel something in your other inbox needs processing, then process it instead.

        Hope this helps!


        • #5
          This reminds me of when I started doing GTD. A corner of my kitchen was the inbox. It only took about a week to get it processed, though the result was only a poor approximation to what I have now.