I have noticed over the past few days that I have a particular mind-set which leads me to live further to the “maximalist” than the “minimalist” end of the social scale and I would define it as the “save it for later” mentality. I notice it particularly in the digital realm, however I know it’s also true in my physical life.
Since the New Year I have been making a determined effort to clear the clutter off my computer, basically archiving what I want to keep, but don’t need to access on a regular basis, and deleting what isn’t really useful.
Now, I could argue with myself that the things I want to keep but don’t need to access on a regular basis are, pretty much, clutter. I know in my heart that I probably won’t ever look at them again, but I can’t let go of them. Although I can’t make a sound argument for keeping these items, I attach an importance to them and therefore they have a value to me. They are my firm basis in a world of shifting sands; they are my past; they are an integral part of my memory palace, to borrow a concept from Sherlock.
That takes us to the things that are of no value, the place where I can strive to make an improvement in 2019, and those are all the little clippings that I keep because they pertain to something that I might one day want to pursue. I am an absolute nightmare for saving web pages or for taking screen-shots of things that interest me – clothes, ideas, articles about being organised, ideas for gifts, pretty spangly things like Christmas tree decorations that I noticed in 2005…. You get my drift? I have saved all these things “for later” – when the time is right, or I no longer have the facility to access the up to date versions of these things, which begs the question posed in the title of this post.
Is it later yet?
And if it is not later yet, when will it be?
I think these two are very relevant questions to ask, and there are two times when it would be very helpful to ask them. First, I should ask myself before I grab something just when the “later” will be that I am saving it for. Is it something that I will look into this week? This quarter? This year? Or is it just an interesting idea in a universe of interesting ideas and probably not the idea that is ever going to make it to the top of my list and actually get looked at. This would be helped by assessing accurately just how much time I want to devote to the pursuit of these nebulous items.
The second time I should ask these questions is on a regular basis when reviewing and assessing the things I have saved. Which means setting up a) a single storage place for all such items, and b) actually reviewing them on a regular basis. Neither of these has featured thus far in my slightly chaotic organisation system.
So that is an aim for the early part of 2019. Rein in excessive saving in the first place, and establish (my word of the year!) a storage and review system that really works.
Here’s to gaining some focus. Are you with me?