Your Inbox Is Not A Meal!
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” That’s right, not your Inbox.
If you had a Euro, a Dollar, or a Pound for each time you read or heard those magical 9 words get repeated, how rich would you be?
So, how do you start your day?
Is it, fresh coffee, or freshly squeezed orange juice?
Muesli with blueberries, strawberries and banana scattered in a symmetrical pattern on top?
Or, would you prefer a plate of eggs, sausages, beans, tomato and mushrooms?
Not so healthy, but there are enough power foods there to keep you going till lunch.
We know breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
Despite knowing, so many of us skip breakfast or we grab something as we run out for the door.
We may all prefer different menus but the facts remain the same. “Breakfast is the most important meal”
Your Inbox Is Important! Why?
Whether we admit it or not, we all own a productivity system.
It could be a simple to-do list written on a piece of scrap paper with your favourite pencil, a kanban method using Trello or some other piece of software.
Evernote might be your best friend all choreographed with notebooks or tags.
What in our productivity system can be compared to breakfast?
I want to help you understand how the Inbox part of your system is as important as breakfast is at the start of your day.
What Is An Inbox?
Think of it more as a starting place.
Every task that’s either an agenda, call, email, or list, starts in our minds. The problem is, we try to keep all those things in our minds trusting that we will remember if or when we need them.
Therefore, we need a place where we can safely transfer all those errands, tasks, projects, calls, and emails too.
That safe place is what we will call our Inbox.
How Many Inbox Should I Create?
One problem with many systems is that they are too complicated.
A bowl of cornflakes or a slice of toast with a little butter and marmalade is sufficient.
In this case, simplicity is what we want to aim for.
These days, most people own smartphones, tablets or watches that can store simple pieces of information.
I would encourage you to create only 2. One digital, and one physical Inbox.
Where Should My Inbox Be?
Where you locate your ‘physical’ Inbox is more important the digital one.
It needs to be in a place that is nearby your main workstation. Maybe Mums will be near her hobby desk, within a drawer in the kitchen, or on her bedside table.
The man of the house may use a study or a desk in the home. Do you have a communal office?
How about a pin board with additional pockets, that’s what I use. You may even find a space saving piece of furniture at Ikea or some other furniture store.
The children or teenagers in the home may have a designated space where they do homework. I had a “den” under the stairs.
Wherever it is, it needs to be easy to fill and accessible to arrange for your designated time.
What about your digital Inbox?
Again, I emphasise that the most important thing is simplicity. You must keep this part of the process simple and effective.
If you don’t, then you will not trust it and you’ll go back to trying to remember all of your things.
So, let me talk you through what I use. You need not do exactly what I do, but you’ll notice the simplicity.
I have a default notebook in Evernote titled “#Inbox”.
Why do I use a ‘#’ in front of the word?
I’ll have a more detailed explanation in another post. Yet, it’s because when you use these special codes in Evernote you can create a hierarchical order to your notebooks and tags.
Suffice to say, using the ‘#’ in front of Inbox, takes it toward the top of my list.
So, all emails redirected to Evernote will go into the default Inbox. If I use the Evernote Web Clipper, it will go to the Inbox. When I scan a document and send to Evernote, it will find its way into my Inbox.
Opening Evernote on your phone and making your way to your Inbox and creating a note is a simple process. However, there is a way to speed up the process.
This is where I use Briantoss. Braintoss is an application available for Android and IOS.
Braintoss is a simple app that allows you to send Voice Recordings, Images and Notes straight into your Inbox.
So, when you setup Evernote you’ll receive a special Evernote email address that will allow you to send things to your Inbox.
All you need to do is put that Evernote email address into the Braintoss app settings and you’re ready to go.
You can send Voice messages, text, and images straight into your Inbox
What Do I Put Inside My Inbox?
This is the easiest part. You put everything in there. Let me give you an idea.
A Business Card received at a recent networking event.
A takeaway menu for the new Indian restaurant around the corner
Your spouse suggested to you that the bathroom could do with a little brightening up.
Your child’s sports day is on the 15th July (You write this down on a scrap of paper)
A friend has become ill, and you want to call him or her.
An upcoming movie you want to watch. Last week, you were car sharing, and you liked the CD that was playing and wanted to check the band out.
Receipts that need inputting into the accounts app.
You get the idea.
Some of the above notes like the ‘menu’ and the ‘receipts’ get thrown straight into your “physical” Inbox.
You will send the ‘business card’ to your Evernote Inbox using either Braintoss, Scannable, or some other application.
The idea regarding the bathroom, the film, and music band get written on separate pieces of paper and placed into your physical Inbox.
if you prefer, you can send those separate notes into Evernote as text, or use the voice message function on Braintoss.
Do the same with the upcoming date for sports day and the reminder to call your friend.
Eventually, on your designated day or time you will sit down and work on the “stuff” that’s in your physical Inbox and also in your digital one.
So, when it leaves your Inbox, where does it go next?
Well, write a note to remind yourself to read next week’s article on “How to Empty The Inbox?”
If you would like to know more about Evernote and how it can hep you, then please consider the following articles which will be of great help.