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On Taking Control: Digital Clutter

For the last three weeks, Nikki Kinzer and I have been talking digital clutter on the Taking Control podcast. It's a great discussion, as always, but I'm plagued by the high level. With all these things, there is so much detail lost at the expense of the overview.

I live my digital life at the center of a Venn diagram of methodologies from three guys.

  • David Allen: David is the Getting Things Done guy. The general daily, weekly, monthly workflow from David has been central to all my organizing effort for a decade.
  • Merlin Mann: Merlin is the Inbox Zero guy. There's a funny thing going on with Merlin right now—I have a hard time knowing whether he's sworn off talk of process in favor of creative. But it should be noted that his take on managing email as a function of GTD and the active work it takes to both stay on top of the signals at the expense of the noise and still feeling freedom above it all is transformational. His podcast, Back to Work on the 5by5 Network is fantastic for creatives looking for ways to find value in their inner-selves. So, it’s strange, but comforting.
  • David Sparks: David is Macsparky, a lawyer by trade with a gift for Mac nerdery and penchant for paperless. HIs iBooks ebook, Paperless, is the gold standard for going ... ahem ... paperless on the Mac. Of the 1,324 incredibly valuable tips he delivers in this fantastic book, I've implemented 1,323 of them so far. These three guys are the nexus of inspiration for me. Given the amount of stuff I create—words, images, sound, code—when I’m lost in the muck it’s usually because I’ve lost my internal instructions for processing it all. Going back to a classic from one of these guys is usually enough for me to remember that my peace comes when I’m feeling like I have widgets AND I know what to do with said widgets.

When you listen to the shows this week, know that it’s these guys and so many others that are the foundation for my thinking about these issues. I hope Nikki and my interpretation of these concepts comes as the same support for you.