What would David Allen do?

Apr 16, 2024 | Ryan's Blog

It’s April 16th, the day after Tax Day. I sure hope everyone who works in the “tax prep” biz is taking a few well-deserved days off!! I’m super grateful for you peeps!!!

Current musings:

Stop “shoulding” on yourself.

Lately I’ve been pondering this ever-evolving-moving-target called “how to get things done.” I know I’m not the only one. There are countless books written about it, for example David Allen’s famous book Getting Things Done.

Light bulb moment: I just realized as I wrote that, it’s not necessarily about getting MORE done…actually we have to start with getting SOMETHING done, right?

And when Overwhelma is all up in our faces, it’s even harder.

The thought of “I need to get more done” literally has the opposite effect! It’s not a motivating statement.

It’s “shoulding” on yourself!

The draining thought of “I need to do/start/finish this project” also is just too much. It literally STOPS progress.

Set the bar low. I mean it!

Is that giving up? NOPE. Quite the opposite. It’s looking at the peak of huge mountain in front of you (your goals) and taking literally one step (micro-actions).

Like one of my FOCUS mentorship members did…for many months now, she’s been intending to load up her two Maine Coon big-ol’ kitties into their pet stroller and go to the nature preserve walking trail near her house. It’s been on her mind, she knows it will be wonderful, but just kept not doing it…and then…

Guess what she told me yesterday during our Get Set Sunday accountability coworking?? Fantastic news: she got them into the stroller and walked a little around her condo!

Yes, the “ultimate” goal is to get to the nature trail, but HELLO!!! This is HUGE!! I’m so incredibly proud of her, as she is of herself. To not let Perfectionilla stop her this time…to just “do what she could do in that particular moment” just made my day!

That’s setting the bar low, getting momentum, and CELEBRATING!!

And look how super into it the kitties were!! Win win!!

If you’re in the CALM Collaborative Facebook group, you can check out her victory post!

We HAVE to see micro-action as ACTION. Action is action! Major action is no “better” than micro-action.

What is the NEXT action? Identify ONLY the NEXT action. That in itself is a micro-action. (how many times can I say “action”?)

“But, Ryan, I need to plan the whole thing before I can start!” Ok, you Kolbe MOs of Initiating Fact-Finders and Follow-Thrus might. Go, and do…

But for the rest of us…I challenge that.

Do you really? Overwhelma…

Can you get started with one little action for some momentum? Can you flip the switch by doing one little thing?

I know that saying “get out of your own way” is a bit overused in the self-development world, but it’s important on so many levels. No one is stopping you from moving forward more than YOU are.

Your self-judgement is stopping you.

Your self-judgement is the handcuffs you put on yourself (and actually have the keys in your pocket!)


And take your kitties for little walkabout.

Current tool:

Attending other people’s workshops and accountability group sessions.


There’s something about being a student…

When I offer my workshops, it’s all about the students and their progress for me so I don’t get as much done as I do being an attendee.

Workshops I’m participating in lately:
-Live body-doubling decluttering with Dawn the Minimal Mom and also the Take Your House Back course
-Learning lots of Google tips and tricks live with Amy Novick of Clutter Care Organizing
-A Paper organizing retreat workshop with my co-certified organizer Monique Horb of Organizing Your Chaos!

Hold up, Ryan, you paid someone else for the exact same thing that YOU offer?

YES. Yes, I did!

Money well spent. For so many reasons like I got so much done AND I was able to put myself in the shoes of my clients as they face OVERWHELMING PAPER PILES and wonder what the heck to do with it all! Empathy is a wonderful teacher.

So use the TOOL of being a student. It’s more than okay. It’s amazing!

Current offerings (AKA tools):

Friday, April 26th: Don’t miss the last Paper/Binderpalooza of the Spring…seriously, JOIN US. 3.5 hours of body-doubling accountability. You can blast through so many piles of random papers. You can set up and start stuffing papers into binders. Action is action!

April’s weekly Digital Decluttering Workshops: (Thursdays at noon CST) it’s all about this unwieldly beast called task-capturing!!

Ryan 🙂


My name is Ryan…

I love teaching people how to let go of the crazy and live a less stressful life. My book The CALM Method: A Guide to Ditch Last-Minute Living is full of guidance and tips for you, but the real magic is in our community. The Find FOCUS Membership is a great place to get more done alongside your peeps!!!

Less Chaos? Yes, Please!

Learn the CALM Method for getting out of the house on time and with less chaos.