Allen’s Input Processing Technique
Perhaps now more than ever before, you need to manage your time successfully if you wish to make progress in business. With so many sources of information at our fingertips, it is easy to get pulled off task in the 21st century. If you struggle with this issue in your day to day life on the job, Allen’s Input Processing Technique may help you become more productive. The technique offered in this model is not complicated, but it does have the potential to help you save a significant amount of time each day.
The way you deal with ‘inputs’ will go a long way toward determining how efficient you are in the office. Do you allow various inputs to distract you from the job at hand? Or, do you completely ignore them, missing out on important information? Either way, you are operating at a sub-optimal level. By using Allen’s method, you can have a plan in place for how you are going to process each new input that you receive. Once this plan becomes second nature, you won’t need to waste time analyzing every new input that comes across your desk – you will be able to make quick decisions before you move on to something else.
At the top of this process is the action of collecting inputs. These inputs can come in a variety of forms, and they can be delivered to you in a number of different ways. An email is an obvious example of an input which you can receive, as is a phone message. A text message, a request for a meeting, a new bill, a customer complaint, and more can all fall into this category as well. It doesn’t particularly matter in what form an input is presented to you – what matters is how you respond.
A Pivotal Question
When a new input is placed in front of you in some fashion, there is one pivotal question which is going to determine how you process. That question is as follows –
Will I act on this?
It’s just that simple. That basic question is going to kick off the whole process. If the answer is ‘no’, you then need to decide whether it is something that needs to be saved for later. If you are going to save the item for later, you can file it appropriately and move on. If it does not need to be saved – as in the case of junk email, for instance – you can simply trash it and be done.
By deciding right away if each new input needs action, you will avoid having a pile of information on your desk or in your inbox at any one time. Many people fall behind on their inputs and get into a position where they simply don’t have enough time to catch back up. Don’t let that happen to you. Determining immediately if you need to take action and your slate will remain comfortably clear.
When you receive an input that you do decide needs action, the next question to ask is whether or not that action needs to take place right away. If the matter is urgent, the decision is simple – you will complete the associated task right away. Those urgent inputs are the easiest of all to handle in many cases because there is no doubt as to when you should do the task. You need to do it as soon as possible, and you can then check it off the list when it is complete.
If an input arrives which does need attention, but not immediate attention, you will then want to defer that job to a later time/date. However, you don’t want to just shove it off to the side, as it could get ‘lost in the shuffle’ that way. Instead, you need to act now by setting a time and date for the task to be completed later. Think about what it is that needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, and how long it will take.
Once you have settled on a time and date to take care of this task, make sure you add it to a calendar that will keep you accountable. It is a great idea for all business owners and managers to have a master calendar which keeps them on track. Many people choose to keep such a calendar on their phones, but there are plenty of desktop applications available for your computer to do this as well. Or, if you prefer, you could keep your calendar the ‘old fashioned way’ – with a piece of paper and a pen.
Consistency is Key
Allen’s Input Processing Technique has the potential to help you stay on track in the office, but only if you are consistent with its application. This is the kind of tool that needs to be used without fail if it is going to save you time and keep your organized. If you allow yourself to slip for even a day or two with the use of this tool, you will fall behind and it will be hard to catch back up once again. Also, falling behind on the management of your inputs is a sure way to miss something important – a mistake which could wind up costing you money in the long run.
It is tempting to think that you are organized enough not to need the use of this kind of tool but rarely is that the case. With more inputs than ever before heading in the direction of business managers, using organizational tools is a good choice. Allen’s Input Processing Technique is a time saver, it can help to reduce your stress levels at the office, and it can ensure everyone gets the information and assistance they need in a timely manner. Put this productivity solution to use in your own day to day work environment and the benefits should be soon to follow.
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