Tag Archives: project management

Here’s Our Assignment for the last days of 2010 – Unclutter! (with insight from David Allen)

(yes, I am writing this for me to follow!)

Here’s the problem. The New Year is about to arrive.  We are all buried in unfinished work, and cluttered space in our minds, on our desks, and in our cars and houses, from 2010.

Here’s the solution: spend as much time as possible uncluttering this week.  Our goal:  a cleared mind, and cleared spaces, to begin 2011 with a “fresh” slate, a cleared mind, and really clean and uncluttered spaces.

Elton Trueblood, who wrote 33 books in 33 years, used to say that you ruin a day the night before.  Well, maybe we ruin a year the year before.  What if we could all begin 2011 in a really fresh, clean, uncluttered way?

Let’s start with some reminders from David Allen’s modern classic, Getting Things Done.

Almost everyone I encounter these days feels he or she has too much to handle and not enough time to get it all done.

What if you could dedicate fully 100 percent of your attention to whatever was at hand, at your own choosing, with no distraction?

Stuff:  anything you have allowed into your psychological or physical world that doesn’t belong where it is, but for which you haven‘t yet determined the desired outcome and the next action step.

We all seem to be starved for a win.  It’s great to satisfy that by giving yourself doable tasks you can start and finish easily.

Here is some imagery he presents in the book: We should strive to work with The “Ready State” of the Martial Artista “mind like water”/ “in the zone”/effortless success…

Clutter defeats this, and defeats us, at every turn.  If we are “buried” in clutter, in our thoughts, in our spaces, then we simply find it hard to be productive.

So, for the next three days, what do we — what do you — need to unclutter?  Your desk?  Your inbox?  Your flat spaces in your bedroom.  Your car?

But, what about all that unfinished work – all those unfinished projects?, you ask.  Well, we at least need to find a “place” to put all of our tasks, our next action steps, out of sight, but easily and quickly retrievable.  In other words, we need to implement the strategy that David Allen made famous in Getting Things Done.  Again from Allen:

Next Step (Next Action): the very next physical action required to move a situation forward!

So, let’s get to it.  It might very well be that the most important thing we can do for a truly productive 2011 is to unclutter in these last days of 2010.


If you have already read Getting Things Done, pull it off your shelf and take a look at your own underlinings and highlights.  If you have not, here ‘s a quick way to get the key themes:  purchase my synopsis of the book, with audio + handout, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.