How to Clean Up All Your Clutter and Garbage

I had a gigantic pile of stuff on the couch in my office earlier this week. Where did it come from? I unloaded all the stuff in my office into one place. I emptied every drawer, cabinet, cubby hole, closet, and shelf (except for all my books)! I was following the advice of David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Allen claims that being a productive person means being an organized person. One important step to being organized is to collect and process all the clutter and loose ends in your life.

The collection step is just as I've stated, just dump everything you've got into one place. Don't organize anything yet (unless you already know it is trash), just collect into one location. Then you enter process mode. Allen provides a processing workflow diagram to help you decide what you are going to do with each item. His diagram is especially suited for ideas, paper, and tasks. But even objects need to be trashed or organized and placed in an effective location.

Of course, even after you have collected and processed all your loose ends, if you do not have an effective system for processing all future "stuff"  (and work it!), you will end up right back where you started. I recommend you read the book to find out how to do it.

Are You Afraid to Think Big?

I have been afraid to think big. I see this as a common ailment of the mediocre. We fear sacrifice. We fear the cost. We fear discomfort. We fear failure.

I am reading The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. Chapter 9 claims that the idea that "big is bad" is a lie.

This book is not from a biblical perspective, but (as usual) anyone who hits on something true hits on God's truth. The main idea is that our mindset (the bigness of our thoughts) determines our actions, which determine our outcome.

Everyone has the same amount of time, and hard work is simply hard work. As a result, what you do in the time you work determines what you achieve. And since what you do is determined by what you think, how big you think becomes the launching pad for how high you achieve.
— Gary Keller, The One Thing, 88.

Our limits are the ones we place on ourselves. Aside from the reality of my physical and mental limitations, this principle works in the natural word. But it is even more potent in light of God's promises!

God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that having all sufficiency in all things at all time,
you may abound in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:8

The connector to this mindset is faith. Do I believe that I really have access to the abundant grace of God that empowers me in all things at all times to succeed in what he wants me to do? If we believe this, we will BOLDLY OBEY ALL that God has said. And then there will be AMAZING results.

Don’t fear big. Fear mediocrity. Fear waste. Fear the lack of living to your fullest. . . . Don’t fear failure. . . . We fail our way to success. When we fail, we stop, ask what we need to do to succeed, learn from our mistakes, and grow.
— Gary Keller, The One Thing, 92-94

Awesome Book Community and Tracking Tool!!

I recently rediscovered the website and its phone app.

Want to keep an accurate digital log of the books you own? goodreads.

Want to keep a list of books you want to read? goodreads.

Want to record books you have read and rate them? goodreads.

Want to connect with your friends so you can share your books and find out what they are reading and recommend? goodreads.

Want to read lots of book reviews and ratings? goodreads.

Want to do it all on your phone? goodreads app

Want to be able to scan a book and then add it to your lists? goodreads app.

How to Be Productive and Reduce Stress (at the same time)

Have you ever been doing something and had the heavy, frustrating feeling that you should be doing something else? Have you ever been talking with someone and wished you were talking with someone else? Not only do I think we all have this experience, I tend to believe many of us spend much of our lives in this state!

Two very costly things happen when we find ourselves often in this situation:

1)         The first cost is STRESS. It is so stressful to feel trapped doing something, when you know or wish you were doing something else. Our minds and bodies put up with a constant tension of trying to be in two places at once. Our mind and hearts are not where we are!

2)        The second cost is UNPRODUCTIVITY. Here are two examples:

I recently heard this statement: “Love is attention.” When someone is talking with you, and his or her heart is not there in the conversation, you can tell! The relationship is not growing and the conversation is not effective. What a waste of time!

Another example is the daily experience we have of trying to accomplish a task that requires attention and thought, and we are continually interrupted. This is frustrating! We lose much time and energy when we have to refocus ourselves on the task. We have to figure out where we were so we can begin again. We lose momentum! What a waste of time.

Paul tells the Ephesians, “Make the best use of the time, for the days are evil” (Eph 5:16 ESV).

One of the major ways we make the best use of time is FOCUS! The reason this is important is that “the days are evil.” There is a spiritual battle taking place and there is much at stake. We cannot afford to waste time!

One of the keys to giving something your full attention is to be convinced you are doing the right thing. Here is the rest of the verse --->

So, here is what we should do:

1)         Carefully select what you are going to do, making sure it is the best and most important thing at the time to do. Be willing to say no to the many other things that you could do. When you find yourself doing something that is not the Lord’s will or best, STOP.

2)        Give yourself fully to what you are doing. This can be done because you have a conviction that it is the thing you should be doing. Give your whole mind and heart to it.

3)         Relentlessly resist distractions. Now there is the possibility, of course, that an interruption may trump the current activity in urgency and importance. A person who has clearly delineated his priorities and goals will quickly be able to assess whether an interruption should trump the current activity or not. MOST things can wait.

Ahhhhhhh! What peace to know I am doing what is best and give myself to it. And so much can be accomplished when I am focused! Have a peaceful and productive day.