How stacking trays make for lovely homes, not gathering points – Pick Dave’s Brain

Do you have enough homes for all your stuff?

This week’s question comes from Stephanie in Beaverton, Oregon. She writes:

Q: I took your Time Management Fundamentals course on Lynda in LinkedIn Learning. You mentioned having six trays on hand while you’re going through the course. What are those six trays for? I can’t seem to find where you describe what they’re all about.

Click to tweet this: Inboxes are great, but trays give your processed items a place to live. There’s no place like home. @DaveCrenshaw

Video transcript:

Do you have enough homes for all your stuff? I’m Dave Crenshaw and it’s time to Pick Dave’s Brain!

This week’s question comes from Stephanie in Beaverton, Oregon. She writes:

Stephanie:

I took your Time Management Fundamentals course on Lynda or LinkedIn Learning. You mentioned having six trays on hand while you’re going through the course. What are those six trays for? I can’t seem to find where you describe what they’re all about.

Dave Crenshaw:

Thanks for the question Stephanie and believe it or not, this is the most popular question when it comes to that course. Part of the reason is if people took the course many years ago, I didn’t explain what those six trays are for.

In the new course though, I do explain in the videos on Preparing for Action and Processing Question Three. But let me sum it up. The stacking trays are for creating homes.

Homes are the resting place for things where you organize them. They’re different than a gathering point. Remember, a gathering point is where unprocessed stuff gathers, like your inbox or your email inbox. A home is a place where you put things when you’re done processing them so that you can access them later.

Filling folders in a filing cabinet are homes. So stacking trays give you the ability to create several different kinds of homes. I’ll give you an example from my office.

I have four stacking trays that I use. The first is for my wife. Now I have the luxury of working in a home office. So anytime that I have things that crop up when I am processing that I need to give to my wife, I put them into “her” outbox. Then I take it and dump into her inbox where she does her processing.

Next, I have a tray for “waiting for”. This stacking tray is where I put short-term things that are too big to file away, and I just want to have quick access to them in the next week or two. So that when it comes time to work, I can just quickly pull them out.

The third tray, well that’s for shredding. So any sensitive document that I have, I put into that file. And then later I give it to my son and pay him a couple of bucks to do all the shredding for me.

And then last, I have a tray for reading. This is where I put magazines or books that I want to get to at some point. And I just put them on that tray until I go on a trip. I’ll grab a couple of magazines, put them in my briefcase and off I go.

So hopefully that gives you some ideas of what to do with your stacking trays. You don’t need to use all six. It’s just helpful to have that many on hand when you’re going through the course.

Thank you for the great question, Stephanie.

And if you have a question that you want to use to pick Dave’s brain, all you need to do is click on the button at the bottom of this video. Or go to DaveCrenshaw.com/ask.

I look forward to hearing your burning question.


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