Cross-post from Medium.

The bullshit–well, it disappears for a fleeting second.”

So there’s this app called Clear. This is how I use it. I make an entry like toothpaste’ or Golden Plains’, and delete it when it’s done. There’s no time limit, flashing colours or push notifications. The reminder is the entry, and the fact that it’s still there on the list.

The more I used it, the more it felt like I was getting things done. I did my tax return. I called my Grandma. I saw that film everyone was talking about. It felt kind of relieving to just delete it and forget about it. I made it a habit.

Then a weird thing happened. I started deleting everything. Conversations on iMessages, recent calls, articles that I’d read on Instapaper, torrents, albums. As soon as I finished something, it was gone. Every gmail ever? Archived. I applied the same principle I learnt from Clear to pretty much everything I came across on my computer. If I got a brief at work, I deleted everything but the main instructions, and when I finished the job, I deleted the entire email thread.

This is not new by any stretch; clearing out your inbox is a well known thing. But that app Clear taught me to edit, sometimes brutally, so that I could focus on whatever was else was important.

So try to clear more. It’s a discipline that helps your writing, packing and yeah, your to-do list.

February 26, 2014