David Allen’s Food For Thought – February 2015

Resolve it – dissolve it!

FEB_Email Blast_DA-F4T_Resolve-Dissolve

We’ve got to learn to declare things DONE. Especially when they’re not. Not completed, that is, to the level of perfection or result that we initially visualized or committed to.

The world changes, as does our creative focus with it. So do our standards. We will always maintain some inventory or backlog of projects to complete, of things to do. But if we’re not careful and take responsibility for unhooking from those that have outlived their usefulness and relevance to our current realities, they can easily constipate our creative process.

I have spent more hours than I can count holding a focus for people while they purged tons of undone and incomplete stuff lying around their life. And the most difficult exercise I lead teams through is their disengagement strategy—what do we need to stop doing, in order to stay focused on what he have to accomplish? And how long did it take me to realize that I no longer am a 32-inch-waisted person?! And that I don’t like jeans that are too tight?! (Some standards begrudgingly change in spite of ourselves!)

Maybe this difficulty with letting go of things that we have outgrown stems from the admonition so many of us grew up with to “finish everything on your plate before you get dessert.” Maybe it’s because of our proclivity to attach to materiality. Maybe it’s just the slow and sneaky entropy of our material world.

In any case, it’s wise to maintain a Someday/Maybe list very close to your Projects list, so you give yourself permission and make it easy to slide things from the latter to the former, to relieve the pressure of the undone. (I was tempted to write: the UnDead, but I’m glad I didn’t.) It’s smart to “library” all of your books but the one you’re reading right now. And valuable to purge your closets and drawers at least every season, knowing where the local Salvation Army clothing drop is, along the route of your regular errands.

It’s a lot more comfortable living life with an inventory of things that fit.

The only man who can’t change his mind is the one who hasn’t got one.
—Edward Noyes Wescott

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
—George Santayana

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