In GTD, an inbox is any place where stuff comes into your life to be processed. David Allen has you think about where your inboxes are, and they typically include things like voice mail, e-mail, physical boxes, etc.
Two years ago I had the great privilege to participate in a mentoring project through my company, and my protege and I were paired up on the basis of her needing help getting things organized. She was having a lot of difficulty with shifting priorities, and keeping track of working full time, household stuff and attending school full time. I described the GTD system to her, and we agreed to give it a try.
During the exercise, I think I learned as much as she did, because as we walked through the process, I scrutinized what my system contained and thought about how I could streamline it. I wrote the results of the series up and posted it on my blog.
Recently when I went to move a series of articles from the old blog site over to the new, I realized that I could benefit from reviewing my inboxes and reducing them as needed:
My Current Inboxes
- cell phone
- Personal email via D.S.L. provider
- Shared family email
- Web master email
- Web master alternate email
- Domain #1 email
- Domain #2 email
- Domain #3 email
- RSS feeds
- My hometown newspaper
- My mother’s hometown newspaper
- My local newspaper
- Yahoo news groups
- Del.icio.us bookmarks for processing
- Home on desk
- Home by door
- Palm Diddlebug
- Palm Slap
- Palm Voice memos
- Portable thumb drive
- Note book
Over the next few articles, I will show how I tackled each of these and got them down to a manageable size and into the system so that they are all processed regularly. I will begin with the easy category:
Palm Applications: Diddlebug, Slap and Voice Memos
Most of these items are to keep me in line. The Palm applications are where I collect things if I am on the run. I only use them if I am in a situation where I do not have time to enter items directly into my Bonsai application. I have an alarm set up on my Palm to process these three things daily to get them into my system. I should note that I rarely use Slap and Voice Memos.
Portable Thumb Drive
This drive travels between work and home and contains useful applications. Most notably, it backs up my work GTD system and allows me to bring it home. I use a program called FolderSync to keep the various systems synced up.
I bought this notebook as a gadget-type thing, and I am surprised at its durability. I’ve had it for well over a year, taking it everywhere, and it is holding together. I use this notebook for two things at the moment: reading notes and creative/blog writing. Most of the things in here do not need to be processed, as they are reference material, but I keep a packet of sticky “flags” in the back pocket and flag any pages that have items that need processing as I write them. During my weekly review I process those items.