Places to Consider Having an Inbox by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In Writers
Jan 23rd, 2013

inboxYou are a writer so you have a fair amount of “stuff” that is either coming to you or that you are generating.  If you do not have designated “bins” to collect all of the incoming items in your life, then these items end up being spread, stuffed, and/or stacked anywhere and everywhere.  This leads to the omnipresent feeling that you have things to do, but you’re not exactly sure what or where they are.  By having collection “bins,” you have at least limited the possible locations.

Consider buying attractive bins. The top of a box will do, but it’s much more satisfying seeing the bottom of a lovely oak in-box than the bottom of a cardboard box.  Ponder (and put into practice) the following suggestions for collection locations and their accompanying “bins”….

  1. Your office: a large box or basket, which is processed daily.  Processing is not part of this week’s set of tips but we will address it in an upcoming week.
  1. Your home: a large box or basket, which is processed daily.
  1. Your car: a large box or basket which is carried into your home or office daily and dumped into the in-box there.
  1. Your home office: a large box or basket which is processed daily.  Note:  You do not have to have one in your office and one somewhere else in your home, especially if you are the only person who lives there.
  1. Your email: one email inbox to collect all initial email (even when you have multiple email addresses).
  1. Your briefcase: a folder or large envelope that is emptied daily into your office or home inbox.
  1. Your suitcase: a folder or some type of zipping pouch which is emptied into your home or office inbox upon returning from out of town.
  1. Your planner: one location for recording all incoming ideas, voice mails, and requests that are not on another piece of paper. This “bin” is processed daily.
  1. Your iPhone, Smart phone, or other digital tool: one file or list where you can record all incoming ideas, voice mails, and requests that are not recorded elsewhere (this is for people who use electronic instead of paper planners).
  1. Your gym bag: a designated pocket or pouch, which is carried into your home or office and dumped into the inbox and/or washing machine there.

The key idea here is this: have limited locations (bins) for collecting the incoming items and then process these items daily. Your life will change radically if you process, thus emptying, your in-boxes every single day.  Remember, I’ll teach you more about that in an upcoming week.  Figure out which bins you need and start gathering up the items that are just scattered all over the place, nagging at you.

© Meggin McIntosh, PhD (also known as “The PhD of Productivity”®). One of the ways that you can learn from Meggin about productive writing is through her 30 Articles in Just 30 Days program ( 

And if you liked these tips you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® to Ridding Your Workspace of Clutter part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.

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