Day 3: Organize Your Physical Inbox

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Now that you have prepared your physical desktop and computer desktop for future work, let’s address some of the clutter found elsewhere. Today, we’ll look at your physical inbox.

If you don’t already have one, you need some sort of tray or shelf on which to put all incoming paper. This includes not only the things that arrive by postal mail but also things that you have printed out from your printer, as well as material that has been given to you by other people you share a home with (if you don’t live alone) or that you have brought home from a research trip. If you are sharing a home, you want to get your housemates into the habit of putting things into your inbox and not in your chair, on your desk, or on any other flat surface.  But even if you live alone, you have to train yourself to do this, too. To save some time later, it’s fine for some things to skip the physical inbox and go directly into the trash, such as nearly all of the advertising circulars you receive in the mail.

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