Have you ever been to a friend’s house and your walking around the outside of the house and there is shovel leaning up against the garage? You say, “Why doesn’t he just put it away, seems easy enough.”
It usually looks like it has been there for months and he just keeps walking by it instead of putting it away. We all have these types of objects in our lives. We become complacent with what our minds allow us to see.
It is like when you go shopping for a car, and you pick the exact model, and then the entire next week it’s all you see on the road. Next, you start to wonder where these Ford Escapes on the road the whole time?
Now take the idea of the shovel and apply it to common areas of your life. Do you have a piece of mail you walk by ten times a day but never notice it’s there? Clearing out the shovels in your life and I mean all areas of your life can provide a great sense of relief. Our conscious mind doesn’t acknowledge these shovels exist (the conscious mind can only monitor about 12 active inputs at a time), but they do exist just in our subconscious mind.
Now think about for a minute how many shovels you have in your life right now. These are what David Allen (author of “Getting things Done”) would call open loops. Things you write down on some internal to-do list that just never gets done. Your shovels are like a ball and chain on the freedom and clarity we seek in our life.
Take inventory of where the shovels in your life are and list them out. Next, make a commitment to move a shovel a day.
For myself when I first discovered how many shovels I had in my life, it was a little overwhelming, to be honest. They multiply like rabbits, and next thing you know you find you own three shovels and never knew it. Then I asked myself; I wonder what other shovels take up space in my life, and I just didn’t know it. Next, I started to realize our entire dining room table was a metaphorical shovel and the voice inside my head kept repeating don’t look, nothing to see here, keep moving. When I really had two bills under that pile of stuff that needed to get paid.
David Allens “Getting things done” http://gettingthingsdone.com/
James Clear Blog Post http://jamesclear.com/selective-attention