Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Inbox's Other Job

In yesterday’s post, I showed the results of my 20-minute pick-up.  What I didn’t show was where I put all the stuff that didn’t belong in the main living area of the house.
When I do a quick pick-up of the house, anything I come across that doesn’t go in that room, goes to my Inbox.  Then, at the end of my 20 minutes, I quickly return those random items to their homes.  My Inbox has these nifty handles on it so it makes transporting it from room to room much easier.
After yesterday’s 20 minute pick-up, my Inbox looked like this:

Ten minutes later, it was empty and all those random items had gone back to their homes.
I got this idea by reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” book.  It is a great read and I totally recommend checking it out.  Anyways, in his book, he talks about corralling all of your “loose ends” into one space (I believe he calls it an “Inbox,” too.) and then making sure that you clear that Inbox daily.  What a cool idea!  It seems to be working well for me because I am focusing on clearing this one room and I’m not getting distracted by some other project in another room.
I tend to get distracted.  Easily.  For instance, during my livingroom pick-up, I may pick up a hair tie and some bobby pins from the table beside the couch.  I then take those items to my bathroom to be put away.  When I enter the bathroom, I see that I left out my hairspray.  So I put it up.  Oh, but wait, my mirror has toothpaste on it!  I get out the Windex and clean the mirror.  Well, I might as well clean the counter, too!  Hmm, the toilet could use a quick wipe-down.  Oh!  Here’s some dirty clothes!  I will go start a load of laundry now!  Hmm, the cat litter needs to be scooped, I will do that right now….

And this goes on and on and on.  Before I know it, I have spent two hours doing random jobs around the house but I never got back to picking up the livingroom.  Using the Inbox as a tool to corral all my stuff that needs to go elsewhere keeps me focused.  Also, the Inbox isn’t very big, so there’s a limit to the amount of crap I can pile in it! J

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