THE BOOK • 28-02-2014


Don't overcrowd it!
Systems function better if they're not overcrowded. You can think of your garage, or your closet, or your kitchen or you freezer or your iTunes. If you fall in the trap of filling too much stuff in, the performance of the system drops. You start listening to crappy music on the shuffle, or you keep listening the same few safe songs in the middle of an ocean of unmanageable stuff. You start choosing the same clothes, because the others are unaccessible or you don't even have visual contact with them to consider the option. You have your freezer full of frozen food, but you don't even know what is in there and for how many years it's been there. Or when you think of using the driller to finally hang the painting on the wall, you remember the garage chaos it is buried into, and you'd rather buy a new driller, or leave the painting on the floor for another month or two... 
Dismissing possibilities
Remember: above a certain point, more stuff doesn't get your system better, on the contrary. For your Action Repository to be functional, keep it light and easy to navigate. The difficult part is not really organizing it in a ever improving super fancy way. The difficult part is to be clear about what you want, so you don't need a whole lot of courage to consciously drop opportunities that are not that important. Dismissing possibilities is a high value executive skill you should master in a playful joyful way, not with the heaviness of making a life crucial option.
Low courage purge
For the least brave, some people find it very useful to have lists of "old stuff". Things they don't feel ok to trash, but also don't want to be bumping on all the time. Garage typical examples are closed boxes with instructions to self, like: "If not used until 2020, dump it without looking inside." 
Make up smart ways to deal with your "just in case feeling". Ways that don't require too much courage or extreme goal clearance. Do something similar with your Action Repository. Have folders like "someday maybe" or "old" or "archive", whatever works better to address your sense of tranquility, while hiding big chunks of low_interest_possibilities from your main system.
Review = keep it simple!
As any other part of your system, Action Repository will remain updated only for a certain period of time. That's totally ok. In fact, if you get too crazy about maintaining it pristine, you are missing the big picture. The idea is not to invest too much time on a tool designed to be enhancing your efficiency. Systems should only require a small part of your execution resources for their maintenance.
On the other hand, if you don't allow enough attention to keep it navigable and agile for making good selections, it will lose its functionality. So, every once in a while, within a reasonable frequency, clean up your garage, empty your freezer, change winter/summer closet. Similarly, purge your action repository. Reorganize it if you must. Bring back its meaningfulness.  
The real reason for which most people keep failing at this, is not lack of discipline, although many think it is. The real reason is that the system is not simple enough, and easy enough to clean up, so you associate the act of reviewing, reorganizing and purging with doubts and questions and decisions about tens or hundreds of items. That will get your success expectation low, and bring about an inner silent resistance pushing you away from cleaning garages and the like.
Final bit of food for thought: it's typically heavier to clean our own garage than some friend's one: a bit like problem solving and advice - what do you think that says about the emotional atmosphere involved?...
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