Do you need a physical inbox?

The world is digital and why would need a physical inbox. Most of the time I just open my task manager app and enter my task right into my system. I even take a photo of my handwritten notes which are stored in my digital filing cabinet. My answer to the question is……..

physical inbox

Yes, you still need a physical inbox. 

I have several digital inboxes. In a perfect world you would just have one but I find that tough to do, but that’s another discussion.

However, with all my digital inboxes I still have a physical one.  Actually I have 2 inboxes. One at home and one at work.

They are both really simple. At work it’s just a wire basket labeled inbox that I can dump stuff in. At home it’s just a bin that hangs on the wall. Again, I can just dump stuff into it.

A few notes about my inbox:

  • Don’t get hung up on the bin itself. Just get one that works for you.
  • Make sure it’s in arms reach.
  • Make sure it gets processed. Really this is a big key to the system, it must get processed.

Here’s some ways you can use a physical inbox:

  • If someone is leaving something  for you,  it’s pretty easy to know where to leave it. Sounds silly right? But think about it, if you tell someone to just drop it in your inbox it’s in a known confined space so it’s not likely to get lost.
  • When you get interrupted while working on a project you can just fold everything up in a file folder and put it all in your inbox. This way your desk stays neat and you can go back to it later and find everything.
  • When you take those meeting notes but don’t have time to input them into your system. Pull the page out of your notebook and put it in your inbox. Or photocopy it and put the copy in your inbox.
  • Do you need to defer something for a short period of time. Maybe you need to take a break from it but want a reminder about it in a day. Sometimes the act of placing it in the inbox relieves my mind of thinking about it, even if it’s just for a little while. Who knows what great ideas might pop into my mind about it while it rests in my inbox.
  • You can also make a note to yourself to process later. A physical inbox gives you a place to put  these notes.

A physical inbox will let you “dump” your stuff in a place that can be processed later. An inbox gives your mind the freedom to let go because it knows it was written down and will be handled.

Give it a try and tell me more about it on Twitter.