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March 09, 2011


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Kathryn Vercillo

Really great topic here. When I find an idea I want to "hang on" to, I share it. I write a blog post about it. I tell people about it. I trust that by putting it out there into the world it will come back to me when I most need it. Then I let the remnants of it (the article, the link, the video) go.

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Thanks for sharing Kathryn!

I use my blog and Facebook like that too! Makes it much easier to let go. But seriously, I am tempted to blog at least 10 times a day, sometimes way more. I encounter or generate hundreds of ideas every day that I want to keep.

I've had to learn restraint....but still choosing which ideas to blog is more based on finding the time and the moment when the writing flows easily. I still find remnants challenging to let go of sometimes...but it's getting easier. The longer I keep it the harder it is sometimes to let go...my next target for release is "Professional Association Newsletters" That's going to be hard...but I'm going to do it! : )

Susan H.

I read this article with GREAT interest because it so closely describes ME. In fact, I had only read half-way through it when I thought, "Wow, this is a great article! I want to SAVE it to refer to later."

Thanks, Ariane, for sharing your insight into ways ideas are like food. Reading that really helped me put my tendency "to hold onto that kind of paper" in a new light. I'm going to challenge myself to let go of those pieces of paper SOONER so they won't pile up on my desk. Susan

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Thank You Susan!!

I love the that you wanted to SAVE it and thrilled that you were inspired to SAVOR it instead. I'm also experimenting with resisting the urge to save. Quite Frankly, if you could see what I did to my Evernote account, I'd be so embarrassed. Within 2 months I clipped so many notes that it became overwhelming to even open it. I am truly an insight and information addict and thinking of it like food is really helping me slow down the intake.

Thanks for sharing your feedback...and adding your voice to the power of group intention setting. We can shift this!


Wow! This is me to a tee! The only thing is, this is very difficult for an ADD person. I can’t read or listen to something just one time. Being able to go back later, maybe several times is invaluable to me.
I have an over abundance of articles that I have printed and started (bought) a notebook for. I have three hole punched them (some) and plan to tab them in categories (a soon as I have time to gather them up from everywhere!) This is quickly becoming another one of those projects that I feel overwhelmed with that will never be finished. Maybe I will find an article that will help me with that!
The thing I love about a recording is it doesn’t take up physical space. I have a folder on my computer at work and home that houses them. Sometimes at work when I am doing what I call “mindless or busy work” I LOVE listening to them. They inspire me to do things that I procrastinate on. It’s so much better to listen to something; it makes me feel like I am a participant. There is something warm about a human voice over a cold hard piece of paper. I can hear the expression and comprehend more by “hearing” something.
Downloading is self organizing; I am not faced with the massive job of locating and sorting out mounds of paper. I can’t tell you how many times that I have wished I could have downloaded something because it was so inspiring to me. Listening again is only a couple of clicks away. Unfortunately, my mind is not wired for recall, I only remember the subject and how inspiring it was.
I apologize for taking up so much space, after writing the comment it was like a book (War and Peace) so this is as edited as I could get…


I too like the concept of savoring, not saving. And like Karen, above, I have ADD tendencies too. So my memory is not the best.

However, when I save things there is always a price to pay --- in that I have to organize or file them in order to find them later. So maybe simply savoring them and trusting the universe to bring the idea back again someday would suffice.

As many have said about articles in women's magazines: no need to cut them out, as the idea will be recycled before long and you'll have a chance to "meet" it again!

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Karen and Tina, thank you so much for your contribution to this conversation!!

Fear of forgetting is one of the most powerful forces behind excessive saving. And the truth is - the pressure to remember is 90% of the time self-imposed.

Part of having ADD is that our brains are often slower to recall or need a "trigger" to recall information. We need patience to give our brains time to access what we know. It's scary sometimes. I forget my own name, age, website or email address - everything. But If I patiently wait, it comes back.

Learning how to access what we know and how to trust our inner wisdom is a key tool in managing our ADD and our Creativity.

The paradox is that the more we keep to "help us remember something in the future" we are actually making it harder to remember what we need "today." This is a deep deep paradox.

Karen the very fact that creating a project to go back and organize your notes overwhelms you is exactly what I mean.

What would happen if you never did it? For what very specific reason will you need to go back to that notebook? Will it earn you more money? improve your relationships? Bring you joy? Allow you to experience the moment? Probably not.

Some ideas definitely are worth keeping - for a while. For example, I keep ideas related to courses I am going to teach.

But in truth, I find that I always prefer to start with a blank page or simple outline than to go back review lots of old notebooks. I start getting very overwhelmed and caught up in trying to collect EVERY possibility. That not only overwhelms me, it would overwhelm my audience.

Ideas are like decorations on a mantle. The more there are on display...the less attention any of them really get.

focus is splintered, absorption is hindered. NONE are easily remembered.

The fewer ideas you keep - the more you actually remember.

It's not just me saying this - it's well documented in learning and cognitive psychology research.

You will remember a 3 digit number easily. 7 digits is about the max

After that, memory is seriously impaired.

Slowing down the pace of what you try to keep and remember is critical to improving your memory. : )

Thanks for inspiring this...I'm reminding myself of this just as much as sharing with you. I have quite a few old notes I'm challenging myself to let go of. I'm getting myself ready for a whole new level of letting go.

Thanks for joining me!

Kathryn Vercillo

I think letting go of those newsletters is a great idea!


Thank you for this relevant article!
I am an information sponge, but like a sponge, I can hold only so much. My office was getting piled with articles, magazines, notes and anything else that I might find useful. Soon, I realized that there was only so much I could keep. I recycled many of my magazines and articles and the ones that I could not part with went into another pile.
I got to a point where there were some things that I needed to be organized with. What has always worked for me is to use the looseleaf notebook to categorize different interest areas including my work. I divide the section and put everything related to that topic in it.
My creative side always chimes in when things get tough in life or work. Its a great diversion and I do come up with some great ideas that can keep me busy for a long time, however, I need to cut it short. I have found that a spiral bound sketch book to put down these creative ideas allows me to get it out of my head for possible future use.
Thank you, Andy


Love all these comments. For years, I get magazines because of one article. Then I started tearing them out but still had to file them. My daughter convinced me to read it and send her the magazine because she was too poor to subscribe. Her tossing ability far exceeds mine, so the little bit of postage I spend sending her the mags is minimal because it cleans out my house. If I forget and it is too old, she doesn't want it, so I bring it to work and leave it in the kitchen. As for articles and emails, for a long time I received a morning quote which I tried to cut out and put in a notebook. After a while, even that became too much. Now, I read for the moment and delete it. It will show up again somewhere, however, if it resonates with me that day, I copy it, punch a hole in it and hang it on my desk where I can read it. After a while, it isn't pertinent anymore and I toss it. This has saved me lots of paper. I love your idea of enjoying it as though it were a good meal and then not saving it. We are overwhelmed with ideas and motivational thoughts and other good info. It is too much for me. I have printed lots of things and am spending untold hours cleaning them up. Thanks for the feedback from others who are having the same problems I am with information overload.


Thanks for this blog post. I've been thinking on this very topic of late. I have just come to realize that I could probably find again much of what I have saved, online or in a book I can borrow from the library. My files are such that it's become a black hole because the drawer is so stuffed. I am beginning to save less of the Internet stuff and that has been freeing, so I figure it is about time to try for my files and books now. I now realize I can throw out those things I only seem to look at when it's time to "go through my files for weeding out", which weeds has never been enough. With a true weeding I could really access what is important in those files. I feel more confident that I can give away more books too. Yes!

I gave away some things that had very sentimental value, but was just sitting going unused just because of the memory it brought back to me of spending time with my deceased SIL, whom we lost to breast cancer, doing something together that brough her joy in the doing and me in time being with her. I spent money purchasing the stuff to create "the fantastic idea" but it would take more effort in the doing then I was willing to spend working at it. I gave them to a garage sale that helped bring in much needed funds to support a family who wanted to go see their son graduate Navy Boot Camp and spend time with him! Now I have the combined memory of time with my sister-in-law and extended blessings to many others known and unknown to me. It helped me let those items go because there was a worthy cause. Now ridding my papers and books are a worthy cause for my personal freedom, so I will have less stuff to manage in my home environment and bringing more enjoyment of what I do still have. Writing that last sentence was an epithany for me. Ariane thank you for your encourage. ~ Marrianne

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Kathryn, Andy, Pepper and Marrianne-

Thank you so much for adding your voice and experience to help encourage us all to hold on to fewer notes thoughts and ideas, and make room for even more evolution and incubation of our best ideas.

Your sharing is such a deep inspiration to me.

Lots of love,

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