All of our possessions want to be cared for, and they tell us that every time we look at them. They begin to form lines in our head, waiting their turn for us to really look at them and listen to what they have to say.
This line of things gets longer and longer as we acquire more material possessions. I call that list the “silent to-do list.” Of course our possessions aren’t going to literally tell us to do this and that. Unlike our real-life to-do lists, there aren’t any bosses or clients to harass us until we get it done. But when left unattended, it’ll grow into a huge to-do list.
Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living by Fumio Sasaki
The silent todo list is all of the distractions that sit in front of us. Things that are subtle reminders of non-urgent tasks for some future date. Read-later bookmarks. Endless tabs. A cluttered inbox. A messy desk or computer desktop.
I’ve found that eliminating the silent todo list (physically and digitally) helps me focus on my real todo list. Removing noisy alerts and extraneous information and focusing only on the essentials by removing. Sometimes, it’s much easier to decrease the noise than enhance the signal.