Take a GTD Challenge Around Your “Stuff”

Things do not get rid of themselves. There seems to be a universal law of physics that goes like this: things that exist want to keep existing, even if there’s no good reason. And I think they have strange, secret, invisible agents that lurk in our psyche, planting little numbing seeds like “it’s there, so there must be a good reason it’s there.”

And stuff changes. What’s useful today may not be so useful tomorrow and by next week may be irrelevant and by next month may be seriously in the way of us getting things done. In addition to inconveniently taking up physical space, it consumes psychic space, of which we can all use as much as we can get.

When was the last time you did an inventory of what you really don’t need anymore?

-in your center drawer
-in your briefcase
-in your closet
-in your garage
-in your bathroom cabinets
-in the trunk (boot) of your car
-on your bookshelves
-on your staff
-on your calendar
-on your computer
-in your product line
-in your relationships
-in your habits
-in your mind

Many of the things you will find have probably at some point become “someday/maybe” kinds of things, and perhaps there’s a decent reason to keep them around, just to keep the option open – “But what if I might need it?” At least consider migrating those to a deeper storage area, and limit that space, so as you add things to it, it forces you to move even older nostalgia out into the dumpster.

–David Allen

Join the Conversation


  1. Aside from being an advocate of GTD for a while now, I’ve been going through a protracted period of unemployment.

    What I have discovered, though, is that that applying GTD to clear out all the “stuff” in my life while out of work has provided a really good remedy to the stagnation and stultification that can encroach in one’s life during periods such as this.

    Although stalled in the world of work, using GTD to manage job searches, job interviews, application forms etc. while revelling in the joy of clearing out “stuff” has kept me moving forward.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Have you thought about starting a business, figuring out what you’re good at/ passionate about & giving it a go? The skills/ qualifications you already possess may be skills someone lacks or needs help with.

      It could be as small as being great at lawn mowing or as basic as having great attention to detail for cleaning or maybe your excellent with numbers. Stuff we take for granted in our daily life, which someone else struggles with and you could be the solution to their problem.

      I definitely don’t know all the answers, nor do I know whether you will succeed or whether your skill set/ area you live etc supports people starting out in small business, which you’d have to research, but it also doesn’t have to be the permanent solution to your unemployment, it may tide you over while you continue to look for employment. Plus look favourable to a new employer.

      We all have skills we take for granted and if you make work an allie rather than something you dislike, plus never be too good for any job, just humble that you have the ability to earn money as written in the richest man in Babylon, opportunities present themselves in many different ways. I started a small business when I found myself between jobs from skills I already possess & I’m enjoying the benefits of my labour. My main goal was to help others, plus live a more balanced life and I’m achieving this endeavour.

      Best wishes

  2. Bex, what great advice. Michael Gerber describes how business reflects personality. If we live productively, those skills can translate into business success.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.