Toast Note - 20 January 2018

Better late than never. Really? What if you’re late, because it’s not important. What if the reason you didn’t get it done is that you don’t believe in it, have other priorities, don’t have anything to contribute. What if you shouldn’t have promised it in the first place. What if… just go with me here… it shouldn’t get done and the only reason you’re doing it is someone else said you should and peer pressure, fear of failure, fear of negative consequences to your reputation or status, makes you feel you must do this thing.

None of this applies to a Toast Note as these are my self-inflicted demand of myself to stop and think. So the reason I am late when I blog is usually because I am distracted by a life squirrel. But it does make me wonder about everything else I have on my list that is late. Instead of working on Saturday morning to do all these late things, perhaps I should just stop, breathe, think. Why is this late? Why haven’t I done it yet? Does it STILL have to be done? Because… like… it’s late. No one appears to be missing it.

There is a part of the Getting Things Done discipline that I have -- even after nearly two decades -- failed to fully master. The purge.

Here’s how this work. During the normal course of every day, you capture everything…every request, idea, aspiration, demand. Everything that pulls on your attention, you capture and articulate as a next action then bucket into projects, contexts, level of immediacy. By moving it out of your brain and into a trusted system, you let it go to only revisit when you are in the right frame of mind, the appropriate context. Worried about a conversation you need to have with your 2 up? Put it in the @meeting context with #Alex and literally forget about it till Alex is sitting with a coffee across the table from you.

Great. But over time the trusted system builds up kruft -- tasks and ideas and notions and requests that go into the system and sit there out of your way but which never feel sufficiently relevant to action. During regular daily and weekly reviews, the actions just never rise to the top. And if you’re really a ninja at GTD, you go through with a weed whacker ever so often and DELETE. It’s like Inbox zero on steroids. That aspiration to learn to play the flute that’s been sitting there for 2 years? Delete. Reorganising the shed since you moved in Mar 2015? Delete. Any task you can’t actually remember what the words mean? Delete. You haven’t done it yet. It’s not going to happen. Get it out of the trusted system. If you suddenly get inspired again, the shed will end up back on the list and maybe this time it’ll get done.

I’m not very good at DELETE when it comes to my tasks. Inbox, yes… tasks, not so much. But why? The sun is shining and some of this stuff drifted into the system in January of last year. No one remembers it any more except my system. I think today is the day. Instead of doing things, I’m going to delete things. Lots and lots and lots of things. Just… not my late Toast Note task. Tick done.

 “Focus on being productive instead of busy.” ~ Tim Ferris