Professors - Places to Consider Having an Inbox (to Avoid the Absent-Minded Professor Moniker)


If you do not have a designated “bin” 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–and gives the impression that you are an absent-minded professor because you are trying to keep everything in your head (and that’s not a particularly good place to be collecting and organizing everything, no matter how smart you 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 inbox than the bottom of a cardboard box. Consider the following suggestions for collection locations and their accompanying “bins” — although don’t think you need ALL of these. Choose the ones you need and start there.

  1. Your office: a large box or basket, which is processed daily. Daily.

  2. Your home: a large box or basket, which is processed daily. Mail, receipts, whatever…all goes here.

  3. Your car: a large box or basket which is carried into your home or office daily and dumped into the inbox there. For many, without this type of system, their whole car becomes an in-box.

  4. Your home office: a large box or basket which is processed daily. Everyone in your home should know that this is where things go that they want you to attend to.

  5. Your email: one email inbox to collect all initial email (even when you have multiple email addresses). Don’t leave yourself open to ‘forgetting’ to check your multiple email in-boxes. Have one.

  6. Your briefcase: a folder or large envelope that is emptied daily into your office or home inbox. No matter where you are (meetings, appointments, etc.) you’re picking up items that need your attention when you’re back in your working office.

  7. 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. When you get home from a conference or other trip, you don’t want a nagging sense of ‘I know I had some other stuff I needed to take care of…wonder where those things are?’ You want to know where all the ‘to-be-processed’ items are located and that they will get processed as soon as you’re back in town. As I write this, I’m on a 7-day trip, where I’ll be speaking at 2 universities and I have a special folder (quite large) where all my to-be-processed items are going. This is, of course, in addition to my dirty clothes bag, which will be emptied and processed in the laundry room at home!

  8. 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.

  9. Your PDA: 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). This “bin” is processed daily, just like all the others.

  10. 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. It may seem funny to consider someplace in your workout bag as an ‘in box,’ but if you accept the concept that we need to have designated places to ‘collect’ and then process, you’ll understand how you have items that need to be processed after you’ve worked out — including ideas you came up with while you were on the stairstepper machine!)

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 empty/process your inboxes every single day. You don’t want to be (or appear to be) an absent-minded professor, do you?!

Source by Meggin McIntosh

7 months ago Beltran 33 Views