Why You Should Get Rid of Those Old Project Notes

posted in: Productivity 2
Image of trolley in New Orleans, Louisiana, photography by R. Isip
Are your notes stuck in the past?

Do you have notebooks, papers or digital files filled with uncompleted project notes, ideas  and the like?

Are you sitting on the fence as to whether to hang on to the materials or to finally get rid of things once and for all?

In this post I offer three reasons why you might want to finally get rid of those worn-out and weary notes.

It should be noted there are times when it does make sense to hold onto various project notes and materials.

However, when you have a backlog of materials that are gumming up your productivity or ability to get things done, it’s time to take an honest look at things and make a change for the better.

You’ve changed over time.

When did you jot down those preliminary brainstorm notes sitting at the bottom of your desk drawer? A few months ago, or perhaps a year or two or more? This may or may not come as a bit of a shock, but you’re not the same person you were when you first wrote those notes. Since that time you’ve had different experiences, gained new perspectives, learned new skills, met new people, etc. You’ve grown as a person in so many ways and have accomplished different things. The way you view your notes now will be entirely different and probably won’t have the same resonance as they did for you previously.

If you’re in doubt as to whether or not to keep a load of old notes, be frank with yourself. Do they still strike a chord with you or make you excited or optimistic about the future? Or do they appear old, tired, dated, and downright boring?

You’ll free up both physical and mental space.

Notes can be downright notorious in the way they accumulate in your home and/or office. You might set aside a couple of notes aside with the intent of reviewing or filing them or putting them to use, and pretty soon you have a gigantic stack of notes that require your time and attention. Isn’t it about time you gave your space a bit of fresh air and dispose of those notes that you know you won’t look at or use? Besides freeing up physical space on your desk, in your filing cabinets, computer, tablet and smart phone, your mind will no longer be filled with thoughts of dread about having to deal with your backlog of notes. You’ll be free of the notes once and for all!

You can freely plan for the future without any baggage.

Now that you’ve done a clean sweep of your past notes, you are free to bounce off ideas, daydream, brainstorm and create new solutions. There’s nothing holding you back when it comes to thinking up new ways to do things faster, better and in a more efficient fashion. You don’t have to view this as starting from square one, instead view this as a chance to really make use of all that you’ve learned, experienced and witnessed in recent weeks, months and perhaps years. Your ideas will be that much more productive and effective because they are now incorporating all of your most recent experiences and learnings. How’s that for giving yourself a boost in the productivity department?

How about you? What types of notes do you tend to hang onto as time goes by? Will you consider giving some of your notes the “ol’ heave ho” in favor of approaching your future with a fresh start? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
Latest posts from

2 Responses

  1. James from GTDNext.com

    I keep so many notes electronically now.. I almost never think about them taking up too much space… but I wonder if they are taking up mental space…

    • Rashelle

      Well, there’s only one way to find out! 🙂 It’s odd how taking notes electronically can be both a blessing and a curse. Let us know if you do decide to let go of some of your old notes and how you feel afterwards. It’s always great to get some reader feedback.