Living by the precepts of Getting Things Done requires sorting things into one of four piles: Delete, Do, Delegate, Defer. Which is fine, as far as it goes, although you do need to stay on top of Delegate and Defer. The problem is that Google, and in particular GMail and Reader, make it so very easy to Defer -- just press S for star -- that I end up with a great load of things that have been deferred into oblivion. Or almost. Because actually, they're still squatting there malevolently, taunting me with their undoneness. And so it was, until I failed to defer Colleen's recent how-to post about "[ridding yourself of unsightly browser tabs] http://www.communicatrix.com/2011/02/rid-yourself-of-unsightly-browser-tabs-video.html".

The funny thing is, unsightly browser tabs are not my problem. I’m good about keeping them in order. On the other hand, this thing she said resonated like a dinner gong.

My version of “save all tabs in folder”, then, mimics the time-tested decluttering practice of moving clutter you’re unsure about to a holding area for a certain period of time before pitching it completely.

The scales fell, and I saw: starred lists were for me a holding area. I’ve felt that unconsciously every time I looked at them recently, but now it was clear. So yesterday morning I plunged in to Reader and deleted a whole bunch of things that had been deferred long enough for me to get over their potential loss. Some dated back to March 2007, which may well have been when I started using Reader. And I didn’t dump them all. There are still 53 awaiting greater attention. But that’s manageable. And just for fun, here are a few that almost got away.

Next week, GMail.


  1. 2022-02-07: That may not be the actual one Merlin linked to originally. But it works. 

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