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In the last half of the 20th century, what "work" represented in the industrialized world was transformed from an assembly line, make-it and move-it kinds of activity to "knowledge work."
Back then, work was self-evident. Now there are no edges to most of our projects.
The essential element in managing all of your "stuff" is managing your actions. And it's very hard to manage actions if you haven't identified them.
A lack of time is not the major issue; the real problem is a lack of clarity and definition about what a project really is, and what the associated next-action steps required are. Clarifying things on the front end, when they first appear on the radar, rather than on the back end, after trouble has developed, allows people to reap the benefits of managing action.
Stuff" means 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.
The reason most organizing systems haven't worked for most people is that they haven't yet transformed all the "stuff" they're trying to organize. "Stuff" means these things are not controllable.
Throughout your day, you’re constantly bombarded with information. All of these things are constantly competing for your attention.
Managing commitments well requires the implementation of some basic activities and behaviors:
If the negative feelings come from broken agreements, you have three options for dealing with them and eliminating the negative consequences:
All of these can work to get rid of the unpleasant feelings.
All of the organizational categories need to be physically contained in some form.
Until those thoughts have been clarified and those decisions made, and the resulting data has been stored in a system that you absolutely know you will think about as often as you need to, your brain can't give up the job.
"When you start to make things happen, you really begin to believe you can make things happen. And that makes things happen."
Everything that might potentially require action must be reviewed on a frequent enough basis to keep your mind from taking back the job of remembering and reminding.
Elements of the weekly review:
The stages we go trough as we deal with our work:
Your mind goes through five steps to accomplish virtually any task:
The basics principles can be summed up as follows:
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