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2. Information Processing > 18. Pre-Delete Cruft

Pre-Delete Cruft

Cruft is clutter that bogs things down and gets in the way of getting things done. Idea clutter is mostly stuff that we could have gotten rid of to begin with. When you initiate an activity, determine a kill date for it at the same time.

Computer desktops overflow with icons. Inboxes are filled with ancient email. Real desktops overflow with paper: mail, magazines, printouts, notebooks filled with old notes and sums, waiting to be integrated someday (when we have the time) into some master Tower of Babel, stepping us into the stars.

Face it: it’s mostly junk, even when we’ve tried to weed it out along the way. We imagine that we’ll use it, and if we think we’ll need even a small fraction of it one day, we think we’d better keep it. Some of us are deeply attached to old brilliance and are convinced that our mountains of ideas will be reviewed, collected, prioritized, turned into plans, and converted into fruitful action somehow. Or we worry that at some point we’re going to need one of those little notes, and we’re going to be sorry that we don’t have it. Or perhaps we’re worried that we’re going to have good ideas for only a limited time, so we start to squirrel them away and hoard them. We spend so much time hoarding them—stacking them, sorting them, working around them, feeling bad about them—that we don’t get to implement any of them.


  

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