Declutter for Learning and Productivity

by Jean Tower

I really enjoyed this post – Decluttering for Learning – on Michelle Martin’s Bamboo Project Blog.

She makes several suggestions that I think do more than help declutter – they assist in reflection, prompt critical thinking about whatever is on your mind, and provide an enduring record, a type of journal.

The first two things on the list are a 5-minute free write or Morning Pages (first thing in the morning write three pages, no more and no less) as ways to declutter your mind for improved focus and productivity.

I practice a variation of these. In the morning, before I leave for work, I review my “to do” list (I always have a list, categorized by project and with information like due date – I use Toodledo).  I select three items from my list that I really want to accomplish or work on and I plan to spend 90 minutes on one of the projects, and 30 minutes on the other 2. I write what I want the outcome to be, or what progress I want to complete in that time. That way, I get to work feeling more organized, focused, and clear-headed around goals.

Another suggestion in Michele’s post is the List of 100 –

When I find myself fixated on a particular topic, I will sometimes do a List of 100. In this exercise, you simply write your question or topic at the top of a sheet of paper, and then you list 100 things related to it. These can be things that are bothering you about the issue, possible solutions or answers, whatever. It’s just a way to force you to examine the issue in much greater detail. I’ve done Lists of 100 around particular fears or worries and found it to be a great way to defuse the topic.

I have never attempted this exercise, but I plan to give it a try. A few questions this might be interesting to address this way –
100 Issues the Technology Committee Could Work On
100 Reasons to Stay at Your Current Job
100 Reasons to Leave Your Current Job
100 Things that are Stressing Me
100 Topics for a List of 100 List  : – )

I think of these strategies as things to help me be productive and it is eye-opening to think about the ways these tricks might help clear the way for learning.

Maybe some of these strategies will work for you.

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