I relaunched my popular productivity summit this week (get your free ticket here). As a result, thinking like the productive person I try to be has been top of mind. As I see it, though, productivity is a load of hogwash if it doesn’t work for REAL people.

Today, as I recognized a huge-stupid-dumb-lame blind spot in my own daily life I confirmed that oh hey I’m REAL and I’m also nowhere near the end of my journey to intentional work. It’s a process.

This morning I pulled up to my office early after waking up early and feeling stressed out for no good reason. As I parked I looked over glumly at the pile of crap in the passenger seat. This is the pile of crap I bring to the office every day. It includes a lot of stuff I hate and a few things I do not. It includes a heck of a lot of what I don’t need.

Firstly, there is my favorite backpack in the whole world, the one I have owned four (five) of because the zippers don’t last forever. Inside is my Macbook Pro, my awesome dot journal (a Leuchtturm Hardcover Medium A5 Squared Notebook), my Kindle, my favorite sustainable cosmetics bag from ABLE, some random food items, a pen I love, and the usual mountain of scraps of paper and receipts.

Next to it is the monstrosity. This “bag” (I use quotation marks because it’s more a small dead mule than an accessory) is maroon and looks decidedly diaper friendly. My mom was cleaning out her house one day this year and as the logic always goes when one is cleaning out, “Well, this was a $150 bag at Lulu Lemon so it’s a shame to give it away! You’d love it! ” Agreed. Nevermind that it’s unattractive and ratty. It’s sturdy. And at one time it cost $150 at Lulu Lemon so YEAH.

Inside this bag is where things really get problematic. First, there are my two oversized work notebooks (the awesome Leuchtturm Master Slim A4+ Dotted Notebook). These are amazing, and I use one every year or so for note-taking for work but they are hardly transportable wonders. They are also sequential (AKA organized badly) and I always have the sense I PROBABLY need to reference something in last year’s one. So I haul around two. JUST IN CASE. Then there’s my Passion Planner. Love that thing. Then my cool Danish carafe (Swell stainless steel water bottle) of decaf bulletproof coffee I got in Copenhagen. Then some folders of — let’s be honest — who the hell knows what. Then a bag of food. Then someone’s pacifier.

DO YOU GET THE PICTURE?

As I walked around to the passenger side of the car to haul the dead mule out today (because hey it’s too heavy to lug out from the driver’s side), I had a flash.

I KNOW it is ridiculous to haul this around all the time. I have said for 5 days now every time I get to the office that I’m going to “clean it out” and “get streamlined” so I can stop the madness. Somehow, this grand plan always falls to the bottom of every day’s to-do list. The result is that every day I am hauling around a bunch of crap I don’t need simply because I don’t want to do the work of figuring out what I really DO.

It’s not an uncommon problem. Every day we haul around ideas, worries, fears, and beliefs that no longer serve us. We drag them up from our subconscious and hold them up to the light and wave them around a bit more, no matter how crappy they are and how useless they are to our current lives.

The better way?

To get rid of them, of course. A feat far easier said than done.

For today, I’d say the easier answer — the BABY-STEPPING answer — is to at least recognize them for what they are. “Oh yeah, the dead mule of crap I don’t need anymore.” “Oh right that fun memory of my massive failure five years ago I like to recall with wild abandon.”

For now, for today, recognize them. That’s one step in the right direction. Someday soon, you can make another.

What crap are you hauling around today that you no longer need?

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