Recommended In Boxes

Post 3 in the series: Recommended Productivity Tools

For your physical in box, I recommend the silver steel letter trays that you can get at Target or Amazon. I used to have the plastic black letter trays from Office Depot, but I’ve recently switched over to these because they look a bit better.

As far as you to make the best use of your in box, it’s pretty simple: Put one on the top of your desk.

Some people stack several together and use the lower ones to hold pending items like material to read. I don’t do that because I prefer to only create very short-term, ad hoc pending stacks that I deal with right away. Pending items that need to be held for longer periods of time go into a file drawer (which will be covered when I, finally, get to my posts on filing).

If you have a desk at work and home, then obviously I’d recommend an in box at each location. Since my desk at home is in the basement, I also have an in box upstairs that I can easily toss stuff into.

As far as location goes, I recommend putting your in box on the left side of your desk. This creates a workflow of left to right: stuff to process starts on the left; you process it in the center; stuff that needs to be distributed elsewhere gets put into an “out” pile on the right.

Last of all, the big question here is: Is it “in box,” “inbox,” or “in-box”? I’ve seen all three. But when I think about it, I don’t think I like the looks of “in box” — which is the form I used in this post. So going forward, I’m going to start writing “in-box.” (If you have an opinion, let me know!)

Posts in This Series

  1. Recommended Productivity Tools: An Introduction
  2. The Tools You Need to Have (And Where to Keep Them)
  3. Recommended In Boxes
  4. Recommended Capture Journals
  5. Recommended Pens
  6. Recommended Pencils and Paper Pads
  7. Recommended Staplers, Staple Removers, and Tape
  8. Recommended Scissors, Letter Openers, and Post-Its
  9. Recommended Paper Clips and Super Glue
  10. Not Recommended: Desktop Organizer Things
  11. Recommended Chairs and Waste Baskets
  12. Recommended Labelers and File Folders
  13. Recommended File Cabinets and Bookshelves
  • Bryan DeWire

    I prefer inbox.

    Thanks for the series! I’ve started applying the principles. Your advice on drawer space was particularly useful.

  • e.b.neal

    Agreed. Inbox it is. In-box looks like an adjective. And in box doesn’t work, either: it’s just a couple of words.

    Thanks for all the good advice!