GTD Insight #12: Clean-Edge Living
Does this sound like anyone you know?
Look at Sarah's demands: childcare, waking up late, a husband's requests, clothing, busing, parenting. Not an easy plate to maintain and yet a reality for so many folks. What could she have done differently to minimize her stress?
- Get more rest. By going to bed earlier the night before, Sarah would ensure that the following morning, at the very least, would leave her feeling rested.
- Practice a morning ritual as if it was religion. Getting up at the same time eases stress and provides what Stephen Covey calls the "private victory"
- Prepare clothing the night before. By taking 5 minutes to lay out clothing, iron wrinkled clothing and hanging things where you want them to be, the morning can run that much smoother.
- Use an on-line calendar to remind you of gifting ideas and deadlines. With such free and easy tools like Google Calendar, anyone can remember a holiday or deadline before it happens.
What Sarah is experiencing is the polar opposite of what GTD practitioners call "clean edges". What is a clean edge? An aspect of a system which keeps things in check and allows you to function at a more productive level.
Examples of clean edge productivity:
- A voice mailbox that is checked regularly and doesn't leave 15 messages in "in".
- An email in-box which gets to zero regularly and is a tool/resource rather than a constant annoyance.
- Social commitments which work for you and are reasonable. A clean edge is not rushing from one social event to the next, barely connecting with any one on a deep human level.
- Physical space which is uncluttered and organized. Excess 'junk' is tossed regularly or donated to charity.
- List systems which capture "errands", "someday maybe" and whatever else comes into your mind. I recently added an "items to buy" list which is handy because whenever I seem to be in a store and need something, I forget what I needed, etc.
Why not practice a clean-edge philosophy starting today? Better yet, why not put it into practice? Like Sarah, I am confident that your mornings will be less stressful as well as the rest of the day.