When my professional life first started all I needed to be concerned with was my email and selling stuff. Simply read what’s coming in and figure out if a reply was needed. That’s about it. Or so I thought. The truth be told, there were “inboxes” everywhere and I had to figure what to do with each of them. When the penny dropped for me about what an inbox really is, it was a game changer.
Like me, you may believe that the only inbox in your life is your email. Now consider what your email inbox is actually doing. Essentially, it is a point of collection. It is a place where information comes in and waits for sorting and action. And when you think about an inbox like this you’ll start to find that you have many of them all around you. All the time. For example:
- Email (of course)
- Twitter Mentions
- Kitchen bench (this is a big one)
- Any desk (let’s face it, desks are just a place to put stuff that doesn’t really belong anywhere else)
- Drawers everywhere
- Pocket (or similar apps to read web content later)
- And so on…
Each of these things collects information and waits. It waits for you to do something about it. And that’s perfectly fine. That’s what an inbox should do. Wait.
The best way to use any of your inboxes is as a method of temporary collection. They are places where you can think “I’m going to do something about that later.”
While you can probably think of many more inboxes in your life beyond what is listed above, the best way to handle them is to limit how many you have. By having as few inboxes as possible you’ll be processing information and fewer areas and therefore will be less worried about missing something in the cracks.
These are the inboxes in my life:
- Letter box
- Kitchen bench
Each of them collects information of a fairly specific nature, which is perfect. Even though I still have a number of inboxes, it’s the way that they are processed and the information funnelled that is really the powerhouse of managing a lot of information. But I think that’s a story for another time, suffice to say that all roads lead to Evernote.
One of the key things to keep in mind about inboxes is that their content should be transient. That is, what goes into them should not stay in them. An inbox is a place that you should visit regularly with the right level of discipline to minimise the amount of information in it, or better yet, empty it completely. There is a true sense of calm that comes with having a completely empty inbox, because you know that you have dealt with everything it collected so that’s one less thing to burden you.
If you want to learn more about how you can use Evernote as your ultimate inbox check out Evernote Every Day: Getting More out of Evernote.