Spring cleaning, throw out old ideas

If you’re like me, you amass a million stickies containing ideas that in the moment seemed so important you had to get out of bed, scramble for a piece of paper and jot them down. These pile up. Even if you’re diligent about collecting them, will you really go through them? And when you do, will you be able to let go of them? And if they’re several months old, are they really worth keeping?

If you know what direction you’re headed, in other words what goals you are working toward, then all the ideas about how to get to your destination are somewhat irrelevant. If they were important you probably would’ve acted upon them. And if you know where you’re going then you can regenerate the important ideas as you need to take subsequent steps on your march toward your destination.

So in the spirit of spring cleaning, don’t get lost in hours wasted going through the stickies. Take the bottom of the pile, the oldest ideas, and throw them out without looking at them. And if you’re really feeling it, throw the whole pile out. Better yet, shred them so you can’t dig them out of the trash can under your desk.

Not convinced this is a good idea? Take a random sampling of the bottom of the pile. What did you find? Are you really going to act on all of these? If you wanted to act on them, could you recreate what’s written down, at least what really matters?

Oh and don’t just do this with physical stickies, do it with your digital stickies too. Take the bottom of the pile and just pitch it.

Instead of wasting hours reading stickies, lost in a hopeless sense of failure, spend a few hours considering what one or two goals are the most important priorities in your personal and professional life. That will be time well spent.