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New to GTD and Need some help

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  • New to GTD and Need some help

    Hello all,

    I am new to GTD. I am just half way through the book now. One of the biggest problems that I am having is with my inbox. My company has a confidential information policy that prevents me from leaving my inbox out on my desk at the end of the night. This means that I don't really have an inbox. I usually put all my stuff in a desk drawer at the end of the night and then the next day I have to dig it all out again.

    Do any of you work with this type of constraint? Any ideas on how to tackle it? I am finding it very bad for productivity.


  • #2
    The same company policy applies for me. Are you suggesting that your daily inbox inflow is greater than what you can dispose of according to the GTD methodology? If it is so, at worst, you are going to end up with a huge pile of incoming papers etc. that will topple over and crash you!

    More realistically, I suppose that you probably end the day with a more or less constant float of outstanding paperwork.

    If the latter case applies, then at the end of each day you could put whatever is in your inbox, in a suitable cardboard box and lock it up in your drawer.


    • #3
      Do you have a tickler file?

      If you do, have a tickler file, at the end of each day, put the contents of your inbox into the tickler file with tomorrow's date on it.

      If you don't have a tickler file, it's not a big problem to put the stuff in your desk drawer at the end of each day. First thing the next morning, you take it out and put it in your inbox.


      • #4
        Beware the time-bombs!

        Originally posted by Fpeters
        This means that I don't really have an inbox. I usually put all my stuff in a desk drawer at the end of the night and then the next day I have to dig it all out again.
        So let the desk drawer be your inbox. And you should try to keep your inbox empty. Items in the inbox represent the collected but not processed stuff so they can contain time-bombs!


        • #5
          In Box Folder(s)?

          You could also create an in box file folder (or, several depending on volume) that you could keep on your desk during the day and put away at night. If it were me, the very first thing I'd do in the morning is take out my "IN BOX" folder and place it on my desk, thereby creating a real in box.

          I second the time-bomb warning. Mixing up processed and unprocessed stuff could hurt more than help.

          But, sometimes you have to just deal with these kinds of constraints and move forward.



          • #6
            When I worked at an office that had inboxes, mine was always empty. When something came into my inbox, it went into a folder. I had a stack of folders on my desk at all times of the projects that I was working on right now, and in addition separate folders for NOW, THIS WEEK, NEXT WEEK, and NOT TRASH YET. I realize that this filing system is not from the GTD system, but it worked for me then.

            If I got something in my inbox that took only a short period of time to do, I just did it. If I got an application for the fishing trip or golf outing or the football pool, I would simply fill it out and take it to the person in charge of that. Right now. And that is GTD.

            So, if you brought your inbox to empty this next weekend, what exactly is the problem with the type of things you would then get in your inbox during that next week that would keep you from distributing that information into some type of file system? Maybe your file system needs work. Maybe you need a separate small file box for "current" projects and "now" stuff. You could put your 43 folders in that file box and put anything in your inbox into that file system. I believe that you should have some type of file system, or tickler file system, maybe including 43 folders and maybe a few more for your specific application, that would allow you to file 30 things in your inbox in less than 10 minutes.

            I have several large plastic file boxes for my A-Z file system, but then I have one clear Rubbermaid top hinged opening container for my "now" files and 43 folders. My working file. I can open that up at my office, at a sandwich shop, and at home and start working at any time. If I had an inbox, my inbox stuff would go into that as it came in.

            I would vote strongly against your putting today's inbox stuff into a drawer without looking at it tonight and then putting it back in your inbox tomorrow. And then tomorrow night putting two day's worth of inbox stuff into a drawer to take out the third day and put back into the inbox. And then the next night putting three day's worth of inbox stuff into a drawer to take out the fourth day and put back into the inbox. Etc.

            There is a book called something like "Don't check your email first thing in the morning" that I have not read, but that title is interesting. I work with a guy who comes into the office in the morning, closes his door, does not check his email, and spends one to two hours clearing his inbox and organizing his day. He writes a brand new todo list for each day during that time period.

            Think about the files you may need, the space you need for those files, and the time during the day when you would most like to do your "inbox empty" and your "daily review". Go buy whatever you need to make this work for you. It may take some experiment and testing to get it right for your style.

            This is important. Do not depend on what your company has available or will buy for you. A $40 trip to Office Depot or Staples could change your life.

            Have you ever seen these ?

            Hey, these look neat.

            But the great thing about 43 separate folders is that you can sort them so that the folder on top is today's date, and the first month's folder is next month.

            Last edited by tim99; 10-28-2005, 10:45 AM.