Declutter your input!

All year I have been carrying my ubiquitous capturing tool: my paper notepad everywhere, becoming a ‘Capture‘-ing blackbelt. But something kept nagging at me….

Eventually I noticed my Weekly Review consisted of a lot of Someday Maybe’s related to consumerist wants on the one hand and quotes for blogging on the other, which I was dutifully entering into Evernote and Nozbe. At some point I started losing sight of the bigger picture and didn’t have time to actually complete my Review.

My friends Tara Rodden Robinson and Augusto Pinaud suggested in my fun interview with them on @Context (episode 16) that I could buy an Iphone to make data entering easier. We even joked I would blame them if I eventually couldn’t resist buying one 🙂

…….Bigger – faster – harder – stronger!!!!!!!! was ringing in my ears….my head was had to stop!…….

“She said run, but I’m not running no I’m not running.
Let ’em come, let ’em come but I’m not running, no, I ain’t running no more.
No more!” Children 18:3 (@Youtube)……..

It turned out I didn’t need a more sophisticated capturing tool but an other view on what was actually worth capturing at all.
These were Fr. Roderick’s epiphanic words from the Health and Holiness Bootcamp-podcast episode 33 for me:

What is decluttering your life? Getting rid of anything you have in abundance, living a life detached from stuff. Because that can be hampering to living a happier and holier life. I mean, getting to inbox zero is amazing but I wouldn’t trade it in for more important things like family, workout, prayer(…)
Decluttering is also letting go of the desire to be always up to date with everything that happens, constantly mastering the stream of communication, keeping tabs on all that I have.”

I listened to his words, sitting on the side of a canal in Amsterdam, dangling my feet and smelling the Summer air, my eyes unfocusing on the water.
Then and there I decided to slow down and change my ubiquitous capturing to not writing down every detail, every shop I want to visit, every restaurant to remember, every thing I want to have and buy buy buy, but instead go for the quotes and ideas that come up in my creative mind and not to obsess over collecting everything like a teenager keeping pictures of her favorite boyband.

So there it is! Now I am very relieved! But it’s only the first step. I want to set my mind on:

“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—anything excellent or praiseworthy” (Phillipians 4:8-10)

“Let ’em come, let ’em come but I’m not running, no, I ain’t running no more.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Please leave a comment below or tweet me @E5ter

14 thoughts on “Declutter your input!

  1. Hi Ester. I listened to that interview with you and I’m glad to have found your blog because of that. I also gave Nozbe a try after hearing your thoughts on it and I am really liking the place it brings me to.

    I think it’s great that you’ve cut back on what you are collecting, because yes it all just adds up and does create a sense of urgency and clutter (if that is what you meant).

    However, I’ve found that getting thoughts out of my mind is key for peace of mind (for me). It doesn’t mean that I have to throw everything over into Nozbe. And it doesn’t mean I have to act on every thing. Some stuff I just write down and then eventually I forget about it… and that is ok with me. In the moment of capturing though… I don’t know if I want this later or not… so I just capture my thought and I’ll decide (process) later.

    But I think if you’re letting go of capturing materialistic dreams, then that is probably good. But I think there is a difference between being “materialistic” and running a successful life or business. For example… I like this quote… “You’ve got to have a dream for your dreams to come true.”

    I look at my iphone not as a new toy or a thing to let me experience entertainment or materialism. But instead it helps me in my pursuit to keep my mind at peace and stay focused. There is an excellent Bible app from OliveTree also.

    Thanks for your post.

    1. hi JJ!

      Thanks for your remarks, food for thought!!
      And thanks for the tip on the bible app from olive tree, I will remember it.

      I hope to get back to blogging soon again, because I have been away for a while.
      Are there any topics that would interest you reading about further??

      thanks so much for any suggestions


    2. hi JJ,

      it’s been a long while since I posted anything on my blog due to personal circumstances.
      But I wanted to let you know I really liked your comment!!
      I see that I have evolved over the past half year in my approach to things and moved over from GTD to a more Zen To Done approach by Leo Babauta, from, because he manages to suggest a very appealing mixture of productivity and simplicity. I hope to post about it more soon!!!

      warm regards and blessings


  2. I am not a big consumer(probably due to limited disposable income, lol), and haven’t used GTD like a “I wanna buy X” type of tool.

    I guess you need to decide what is still actionable in the future, and what is simply dreams. Maybe put all possible actionable items in Someday, and a new list called Ideas or Dreams. That way your weekly review can go over Someday, and Ideas or Dreams is just something you look at when have an inclining…
    Someday doesn’t need to be Consumerist. It can be, “research nature retreat”, or “start up beginner’s yoga”…

  3. I continue to have a strong habit of capturing tons of things as I roll through life. This is one of the first parts of GTD I mastered but also began to see my system getting cluttered with much noise.

    My solution ended up being in the processing mode of GTD. I had to remind myself that everything captured does not earn a space into my future commitments. I regularly now spent the minute or two and determine this has no future action. No harm done. I discard the note and move on.


  4. Hi Ester
    Leuk om je blog weer te lezen. Ik vind het ook belangrijk om te kiezen waar ik mijn gedachten op richt, beter kwaliteit dan kwantiteit wat betreft informatie tot je nemen!
    Morgen zijn we bij jou, dat vinden wij belangrijk!
    CU, mam.

  5. Very thought provoking post. I’ve decluttered a lot since we are now empty nesters, but I hadn’t thought about decluttering my mind. Thanks for the insight, Ester. Oh, by the way, I enjoyed the @Context podcast too.

  6. I love your intention to focus on
    “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—anything excellent or praiseworthy” (Phillipians 4:8-10)

    Creating a filter for capture is a great idea and one I will definitely implement.

  7. Thank you Tara!!
    It was a real epiphany for me like I said. Life’s just a waterhose of information… You can’t drink it all.

    Love you too!;-)
    liefs Ester

  8. Yay, Ester!!! I am with you 100%. I counsel my clients against trying to capture everything as it increases the mind’s tendency to generate more and more and more ideas. In essence, it supplies an internal distraction, a temptation (if you will) to get off track.

    Love your post and love you! 🙂

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