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Survey of experienced GTDers: Do you use an INBOX or do you

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  • Survey of experienced GTDers: Do you use an INBOX or do you

    Survey of experienced GTDers: Do you use an INBOX or do you try to assign a "home" for something that comes into your circle of daily life right away? If you DO use an INBOX, how often do you dump? Once a day, during weekly review or whenever you get a free minute and you feel like doing it?

    I personally tend to assign a next action/project to something that comes up right away so I don't really have much in my INBOX. Someone even suggested using an erasable marker on my bathroom mirror in case I happen to be in the shower and don't have my Palm/paper organizer with you for obvious reasons. That tip works great for me as I tend to generate a lot of ideas/next actions and don't like to "let them go" only to reappear again.

    Anyways, how often do you dump your INBOX? My concern is if you still have a few days before your next weekly review and the item might need action before then, what do you do?

  • #2

    I use a journal during the day to collect all kinds of information: meeting notes, actions from phone calls, ideas that flash through my head during the day, ... . I also write down the topics I am working on during the day: it has happened that somebody drops by my office to discuss something for 5 minutes and that I had forgotten afterwards what I was doing before the person came in . The journal has helped more than once!
    At the end of the day, I close the journal and go home.
    First thing next morning, I run through the notes and collect all actions, new projects, ... . So actions that came up yesterday and need to be done before the weekly review will be picked up.
    I do have an inbox on my desk, but this is hardly ever used without note in the journal. If I were to receive a printed document to review without having the time to properly decide what to do with it, I would put the document in the inbox and make a note in the journal "Received document CS re: planning systems". The next morning I can have a look at it and decide if it needs to be read/processed by a certain day, if it can be filed for reference, ... .
    I am not sure if it according to hardcore GTD, but given the low quantity paper that I receive, it works.

    The journal is only used for work. I do not have GTD at home, I have a girlfriend.



    • #3

      At work, I try to process new 'stuff' as soon as it appears. If I am at my desk, the NA and/or project goes directly into Outlook. I carry a small notebook with me when I am away from my desk to capture 'stuff'. Each morning I run through my 'daily processing' routine which includes checking the notebook and processing any outstanding items, identifying which NAs should be targetted for the day and marking them as high-priority, etc.

      At home, we have a physical Inbox - a big square wicker basket approx 10x15x8" tall, with handles. It is used to capture physical 'stuff' (usually paperwork). My husband retrieves the mail each day - bills or other urgent mail goes into a special folder for prompt action, and the rest of the mail goes into the Inbox. The Inbox also gets any papers I bring home from the office that are home-related, and any other physical items that represent 'stuff'. We try to process this box twice a week, but are still struggling to make this happen consistently.



      • #4
        As David describes in GTD, I have several "collection points". These include:
        - a tray near the door
        - a small voice recorder that I carry in my jacket
        - a TO HOME folder in my briefcase

        But I only have one true "Inbox" (at last as far as I consider), and that's at my desk -- with the label maker on it and right next to the file cabinet!

        David's system of getting things to collection points, then gathering things and going through the Inbox has really reduced my psychic organizational burden.

        If you have an item that is time critical, I suggest making an entry in your calendar.


        • #5
          I have an inbox at home (mail and other "papers to be processed" get dumped in here) and one at work (receives meeting notes mostly). I also use my Palm as a collection point, and have email and voicemail boxes to empty as well.

          I try to make sure the work inbox is emptied daily. The home inbox doesn't receive as much time-critical material, so waiting for the weekly review is fine there.


          • #6
            My work inbox is emptied as often as possible - I try not to let more than a handful accumulate there before emptying it. Home is once a week, max, since I weed out bills and other important stuff each day.


            • #7
              Inboxes - as appropriate

              I have 3 Inboxes:

              1. Postal mail - the Trash is betwen my mail tray and my desk. Only GtD-able items make it to the desk.

              2. Email - with Trash, Action and reference folders ready to receive.

              3. A 5x7 ringed notepad that goes everywhere I go.

              I clear Inboxes daily. Nonactionable items are set aside to be further Processed weekly. Actionable items are Processed into the system daily.