: There is no Place Like "In"
Many of you have shared with me that when you fall off the wagon it's easy to get back on track by the simple step of gathering everything into the In-box and processing it one at a time, through to completion. If you have a system you can trust, you can relax with the volume of information coming forward, knowing it will get processed.
For some time I have been looking for an analogy to add to my food/body repertoire that emphasizes the importance of a functioning In-box; and, I just found it!
A friend was telling me the other day that she has found the secret to great digestion. Her discovery is a simple well-known practice of chewing each bite of food 32 times before swallowing. For those of us who inhale our food, that can take a great deal of patience. I have always known chewing your food was of great benefit for smooth-moving digestion, but I had never associated it so vividly with a great outcome.
As she was talking, I said out loud н then it's true, there's no place like "In". She knows about the body analogy for my work: in = mouth, pending = stomach, out = bottom.
The first part of the analogy is that you need one entry for all your incoming information, just like you have a mouth through which all food must enter if it wants to be digested. You wouldn't consider putting your omelets into your knee if you were hungry. So why would you keep a note in your pocket, or Post-its all over your desk, with actions that need to be done?
We started laughing. I realized this was the missing piece for bringing home the value of the In-Box in our lives.
It's quite simple, chewing 32 times is the secret to a healthy output and it all takes place in the "In" box.
If how we chew our food is ultimately responsible for how well it comes out, then processing information through the In-box with the next action method (i.e. processing up front) is the key to completing what we start.
Many of us try to skip that piece and jump right into the pressure of н I have so much to do, where do I begin? You begin in the In-box with one piece at a time and process it all the way through to initial completion, (i.e. what is the end-result I am looking for, and what is the very next step/next action in moving towards that goal?) Once that is identified the digesting/doing is easy.
During these past two months I was able to keep my attention on healing and not be distracted by all that was not being done. Why? Because it was all being handled by my systems. Everything went into the In-box for chewing/processing.
I did the executive-scan approach to make sure bills got paid and any essential communication took place. But other than that, I simply used my In-box to collect until I was ready to chew. When I eventually processed each piece, clearly identifying the outcome and next step with each item, the completing happened naturally and easily.
After this conversation with my friend, I had some fun reviewing my own eating/chewing habits and then applied them to processing the In-box behaviors. See if you recognize any of them.
Haven't got time to Chew: I'm in a hurry - I gulp it down - swallow whole - no chewing or tasting possible. AKA - have to do it all NOW - intense doing - hyper vigilant - missing the nuances - not listening - like a machine.
Chewing without focus: I'm talking while I am eating - barely noticing what, or if, I am chewing. AKA - Multi Tasking Mama - I'm acting like I am on it - looks good on the outside - feels terrible on the inside- not breathing well.
Unhungry Chewer: I don't feel like eating much so I'll just take a little bite - that way there's no need to chew. AKA - Procrastinating - some of this interests me - I can do it later. Nothing to do now.
Chewing part way: Start eating something, then lose interest, and start eating something else, etc. AKA - Half-finishing - looking at various emails or papers. Open them, leave them sitting there.
As part of my healing, I began practicing chewing each bite 32 times. A flow of completing has returned in my life, on my desk and in my body!!
Having an In-box is a must for surviving, and chewing it properly lets everything come out just fine. There truly is no place like IN.
Happy chewing and completing.
1. In this new year, if you haven't already done so, take a walk through all your files, removing and tossing anything that is no longer relevant. Do the same with everything in your office and home as well. This kind of purging/completing is energizing and it keeps things flowing.
2. Chew your next bite of food 32 times and see what you notice.
3. Walk around your office, open drawers, briefcases, etc and find any "ins" that are lurking about that have not yet found the In-box. And, if your In-box hasn't been chewed completely in a while, treat yourself!