[No.1 in a series of posts taken directly from David Allen’s Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done]

All intellectual improvement arise from leisure. – Samuel Johnson

“Completion of open loops, whether they be major projects or boxes of old stuff we’ve yet to purge and organize, prepares the ground for cleaner, clearer, and more complete energy for whatever shows up. We’re often not sure what’s next or what to tackle. At that point, just clean or complete something – something obvious and in front of you, right away. Soon you’ll have the energy and clarity to know what’s next, and you’ll have cleared the decks for more effective responsiveness on every front. Process your in-basket, purge your emails, or clean your center desk drawer. You’ve got to do it sometime anyway.” – David Allen

One thing people tell me that the get from their “to-do” lists is the satisfaction of being able to cross out an item. That sense of completion, no matter if the task took 1 minute or 100, provides a boost of adrenaline to your spirit and prepares you for the next thing. The opposite holds true when you get in to work in the morning and your email in box takes a few pages to scroll through, you have a stack of “to read” material on one side of your desk and a stack of project files on the other. That can truly sap away all your enthusiasm for the day. So I believe Mr. Allen’s point here is to shake it off and just do something and complete it. Get that boost of energy to move you on. – Gary