A few days ago I finally got to understand that a certain type of items in my in-box gets my processing phase longer than it should be.
I can get every day a dozen or more items with which I should do a relatively short, predefined chain of steps, which can change slightly depending on the exact case, and those actions should better be done as soon as possible.
A few examples:
A new prospect client called, and after the conversation he asked to be sent information- I have to add the lead to my CRM system, and could be I have a template with the information he requests, and it needs only to be filled with the contact info and can be sent to him by fax or email.
A signed order got in, I took it from the fax machine and it's in my inbox. I need to close the reminder to check if it came in (in waiting), update the client's account, set a reminder to produce and ship the item ordered, and produce an invoice for the charge.
I worked for a few hours for a client, outside the office, upon coming in I dropped the note including the billable hours worked for him into the inbox. I have to feed the information to my system, calculate the price for the time, and update the client's account, and if the work is finished - produce an invoice.
All of those issues, and there are more type of such items, should better be done sooner than later. If I don't send out the information the prospect asked for, I might lose the lead. If I don't ship the item ordered, the client might get upset, and without sending the invoice to him- the payment will also be delayed.
So, till now I used to actually DO those things immediately while processing my in-box, but it made processing slow, because it takes much more than 2 minutes to do, and often my inbox did not get empty on a daily-basis.
I now think I should make a special tray for this kind of items, processing them from the inbox will be short- What is it? An order. Need action? Yes- it's a rutine item, put it there to be done.
And I think that even though my system is basically electronic, this tray will by itself be the 'container' and the context, I don't need to list these items, I just have to sit down - pick an item and just do what's needed. I can even pick the one I think needs to be done first, even though it is not the top one - this tray is not an in-box - it's a context.
What do you think?
Last edited by Mic; 02-05-2012 at 08:16 AM.