Michael Koehler

Exploring the intersection of productivity, technology, and life.


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Sunday started early, with a deep desire to finish the job of processing the stuff I had collected. Up until this point the work was largely mindless. There was little stress in moving things from where they did not belong to a place to deal with them. In fact I felt motivated, as long festering undone loose ends finally moved to the top of the list. Throwing out the trash was even better. The ultimate act of done, is throwing it away. The whole house felt lighter and airier. This was the part that justified the whole project to my wife, and it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. So certainly no stress, or even real thought, was involved. The stuff I tossed was cleary useless trash. Enough time had passed since a lot of things had been left piled somewhere, undecided and unclear, that they had decayed into obviously nothing left to do.

Day two, was all about thinking. I had to decide what each thing meant; why it wasn’t trash, or just something to file. By the time the day was over, I was more tired than I was after the more physical first day. A lot more stuff got trashed, and even more filed. On the first pass the day before these things seemed unclear, but when I forced myself to determine what it meant to me, if often boiled down to nothing, or reference. The rest was written down on my projects list and then either trashed (because the thing was just a reminder), filed (because it might be needed in the future but not to get the project done) or put in a project folder so I could refer to it as needed. I was left with a long project list and a thick stack of project folders. Normally that would have been an unhappy sight, but in comparison to the mess that it replaced I felt free and in control. And the house looked much better.

One of the things on that project list is the subject of the next post. What was my trusted system going to be? I had a project list on paper, but no next action lists. I needed to decide how I was going to keep track of my projects and actions going forward. Paper was a simple place to start but I wasn’t sure that I could stick with it.


Written by mwkoehler

2011/03/30 at 10:44 am

Posted in GTD

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