One of the keys to making sure you are well organized is knowing where your “inboxes” are. These are the sources for all your action items. For me I have six: my notebook, my work e-mail, my home e-mail, our bug database at work, my physical home inbox, and it’s equivalent at work. The idea is that you process your inboxes throughout the day before moving on to “action items” from your TODO list. Identifying these sources and making sure you are reviewing them throughout the day gives people you interact with a sense of responsiveness.
My notebook is action items that I collect when I’m in meetings or when I’m walking around and think of something I need to do. I idea is, if it’s in your head, get it out of there and onto a piece of paper. Your mind always wants to process things. If you get it off your mind and onto a piece of paper, then your mind is free to think about more important things. I always process my notebook first. When I return to my office. I have found usually the most important action items will get placed in there and it usually best to take action on them immediately.
Another tip on giving people that sense of responsiveness is going ahead and doing an action item if it isn’t going to take that long while you are processing your inboxes. For example, a quick response to an e-mail. The general rule is that if it can be done in under two minutes, then do it now. Otherwise, it needs to either be added to a TODO list in order to get worked on later or archived somewhere so that it can be referenced later.
In future entries I will go into more detail on processing e-mail and how to store information so that it can be searchable later when you are looking for it.
Do you have a more efficient method or a process improvement? Add a comment below!