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The value of that one physical inbox

Time to read 2 minutes

The physical inbox. Sounds oldschool, right? But when roaming around your home or workplace, you’ll more than likely will see a few pieces of paper, charging cables and so on scattered around. Or piled up neatly, each their own pile, but in your face. All. The. Time. The clutter! A tip from Dave Crenshaw changed all of that for me.

I’ve come to value it a lot, because the physical inbox:

  • makes my home look tidy,
  • helps me order the stuff i have, and
  • keeps me on top of my things (I know where everything is!).

It works in your home, but also in your office. Reason enough to tell you a bit about the inbox, but Dave says it best in his video, which I’ll share below. To this day it mystifies me why I didn’t come up with such a simple and elegant solution myself, but hey, who cares.

physical inbox with papers

The physical inbox

Right, so, the inbox is an actual box. In my case it’s a simple shoebox, but please have at it when you’d like it to blend in a bit more with your furniture or space. The only request I had was that it could hold an A4-sized piece of paper.

There’s another restriction, it can only be one. One inbox. So these different piles of paper – each an inbox of their own – stashed on your dinner table or desk all have to fit in that one box. At best, you can have an extra mobile inbox with you in a briefcase or bag, but you’ll have to empty it in your one inbox at home or at the office.

How to use the inbox

A few words on how to use it. In the inbox you’ll put everything that is either out of place or has come in through snail mail. Some examples of things that get out of place regularly are pens, cables, a loose screw or two and notes or bills. Once a week you sit down with your inbox and process everything that’s in it.

You cannot leave anything in it after processing – you’re a cheat if you do that! You’d have to find the stuff you’re processing a home within your place. So, the first few times of processing your inbox will be about: “hmm…. where shall I put things like this?” – put them somewhere you can find them later. Dave explains it well in his video.

5 tips from Dave in three minutes

Er… Dave? Who is he? Dave Crenshaw has made his living out of mending his own disorganized life through better organization habits – getting results, he will tell you. He’s an avid speaker, hosts many online and offline courses about time management and has written several books about the latter. Have a look at his work when you want to know more!

Although aimed at entrepeneurs, these tips on the physical inbox are valuable to any type of place or person!

If you’ve got another three minutes to spare, watch a few more tips about the What-When-Where process mentioned in the video above:


Published inOrganizing Home & Work

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