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How to handle new items

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  • How to handle new items


    When reading the book, David says that you should separate collecting from processing. I can see how it relates to the big startup period when you are trying to get control over all loose ends. But how does it relate to everyday normal stuff?

    If I get something I need to act on, a phone message or an idea or whatever, I usually try to think everything through and start setting up next actions etc. in my computer. But I'm thinking it would be better to just jot it down on a piece of paper and throw it into the inbox. That way I can process it when I go through my inbox.

    How do other people handle this situation?


  • #2
    Part answer, part question

    I'd say the answer is "it depends" on:

    1) How time-sensitive the action is (you'd need to think that through at least). More urgency = more immediate processing. And,
    2) How frequently you process your inbox. More frequent processing = tossing into "in" is more *possible* (not absolutely more effective, just more possible).

    I'm puzzling over the same question, so I'd be interested in others' answers as well. I'm starting to lean toward the toss-in-box if possible side of things, unless the action is sufficiently straight-forward that processing is self-evident. For example:

    "Gee, the waiting for item that's already part of an ongoing project came due. I'd better call to follow-up." Because the item is already part of an ongoing project, there's probably not much more processing required than to note ... Next Action: Call for status re delinquent waiting for item.

    HTH. (And looking forward to further insights to follow from others...)


    • #3
      I want to add one more "depends" that fits in between Bryan's other two. It depends on what else you are doing or need to do when you receive the actionable item. If you are busy with another task, and you determine the item is not more urgent, then drop it in the inbox and process it later.

      If you don't have anything else in particular to do, you are just creating work for yourself by delaying your attention. Batch processing is only useful when resources (time) is scarce.



      • #4
        I work 99% of the time from my desk at the office. In the early morning, I have very few interruptions, so I use this time to do the most difficult tasks and let the inbox pile up. At 10:30 am, I begin to process the inbox and after that I usually process new items as they arrive, unless it is something that is not urgent and I need a longer time to think about, then I will process this item the next morning.


        • #5
          Most of my stuff is collected into my Palm inbox (Slap) and sits until I'm ready to process.

          Little things like "WF Office Supply Order 3/12" though, are quick and a no brainer so they go directly onto the WF list.

          My paper inbox usually gets low priority/reference type items so those just sit till I'm ready to deal with them... which is sometimes 2-3 weeks (shame on me, I know )