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Is purging first OK?

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  • Is purging first OK?

    I'm still reading the GTD book, so forgive me if this has been covered already. But, I have an unusual amount of really old files (receipts, bills, statements, etc) from 1997 up to today. As a precursor to the collection step, is it OK to just go into MAJOR purge mode first? I figure I can eliminate 95% of everything first and have that much less to process.

    Any thoughts?


  • #2
    We all have a limited amount of time, and you have to decide if you can allocate enough time to start with the oldest first & work forward. If you don't have time to do that completely, Dave makes a great suggestion on the FAST CD. Just be sure your system from this point forward is working efficiently and put some crime scene tape around the old stuff, working through it as you have time.

    I employed a variation of this idea when I began setting up GTD about a year ago, and it worked great for me. Some of that old stuff is still sitting there unprocessed, but it's no longer a source of anxiety for me. It's in its proper bucket, I know where it is, and it isn't nagging me to get it done.


    • #3
      Since it sounds like most of these files are reference material (with no actionable items in there), add "Purge old files" a project on your project list. Once you've got all your projects listed by going through the process, then you can decide if spending time on the purge is the most important thing for you to be doing.



      • #4
        Stuff retention periods.

        You may also read the following David's tip about the stuff retention periods.


        • #5
          There is no GTD police.

          If you want to purge, do it. Your intuition tells you that it would be of great benefit, so it makes sense to follow that intuition.

          I suggest paying particular attention to the purge process, though. It may turn into Processing. This may or may not be a good thing.


          • #6
            Purge Away

            Purging anything from my wallet to files (personal or work) always makes me happy! It's almost a comfort device for me.

            When I feel overloaded by incoming "data" it gives me a sense of control (though I know it's false) to make way in a sense for the new. For sure, there are many more important things I could/should be doing, but when your energy is low and you feel the's something you'll have to do eventually, so....