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Is an Outbox ok?

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  • Is an Outbox ok?

    When I'm completing different NAs and the files need to be filed away in an area farther away from me, I've recently started using an Outbox. I then process the outbox at a different time - usually not right away. But, I do empty it at some point. Is this OK? Or is it really recommended everything is filed away right away? It's not that I'm lazy (mostly not - I do work out 3 times a week though), but I'm often in the middle of my work mode or I don't want to be sidetracked during those less than 2 minutes it would take for me to file, which has been known to happen. I appreciate help on this matter, since I'm trying to reconfigure some things.

  • #2
    I use an Outbox just like that

    I think this is fine.

    I find my workflow is severely interrupted by filing. I always see files that can be tossed, or at least cleaned up a bit when I file. I'd rather do that when I have time to fidget with my files than when I'm trying to 'Do'

    So, I have a To-File Box and folder in my briefcase. I empty them every time I process my InBoxes. That way I catch any left over NAs and glance at my other files for lost Projects and NAs almost everyday.

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    • #3
      If it isn't broken, don't fix it. Especially if you have learned that the standard way has some problems for you.

      If you file regularly (I recommend every second day at least) and find everything you search, its ok to do it this way.

      Yours
      Alexander

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      • #4
        GTD recommends against delayed filing like this, but I agree with the others about IIABDFI. That said, the reasoning behind it is to not make more future work for yourself. With the right filing (at hand) it's a <2minute task.

        Incremental purging of old files might be a different story - secondary storage is usually the next physical level out from the desk, e.g., somewhere else in the office. So batching "to file" might make sense.

        For executives with assistants, using the outbox effectively is a big win. Toss outgoing items in the box, and the assistant regularly empties and processes it during the day. Signed memos to take care of, delegated items, folders to file, etc.

        The other case in which deferred filing makes sense is when you're traveling. I carry a portable inbox that works this way. Other have a "to office" and "to home" folder.

        Good question!

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        • #5
          I do the same

          I find I do the same for certain files as well. In my job, I have my own personal files as well as several project files that we all work on. These project files are in our team archive if they're not in use, which is not far, but not at hand. If I'm done with them, then I put them aside and return them to the archive periodically.

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          • #6
            I agree with everyone here. An outbox is just a specialized kind of inbox (in this case, it is a collection point for your filing). As long as you process it regularly, you're golden.
            Last edited by jknecht; 10-30-2007, 10:55 AM. Reason: clarification

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cornell View Post
              For executives with assistants, using the outbox effectively is a big win. Toss outgoing items in the box, and the assistant regularly empties and processes it during the day. Signed memos to take care of, delegated items, folders to file, etc.
              It's a good reminder to delegate as much as meaningful and possible. In this special case just keep in mind, that it is important that you yourself are always able to find and retrieve the files without aid. There is a day when you're alone, your assistant(s) not present and you need a file immediately.

              Yours
              Alexander

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              • #8
                Thank you for this advice. I will not be worried about using an outbox, i.e., and inbox for filing, as long as I diligently (at least every 48 hours) process it. You would never think that something like this is so important, but my set-up is allowing me to be much more productive.

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