Gaining Control Through Clarifying

2 min readMay 8, 2024


“The best way to succeed is to have a specific intent, a clear vision, a plan of action, and the ability to maintain clarity.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Having clarity is essential to be able to deal with the vicissitudes of life. But clarity is not something that just happens, you have to create it.

Clarifying is the second stage of the GTD methodology to gain control of your life and achieve a positive relationship with your environment and the commitments you undertake.

Specifically, clarifying allows you to put the focus on those things that have your attention and allows you to use your energy and time in the most appropriate way. Without this process, it would be impossible to choose what to do at any given moment.

Under normal circumstances, any person decides in an instinctive way what to do, or what not to do, regarding those things that pop up in their life. The goal of the “clarifying” stage in GTD is to make these decisions in a conscious way. That is why GTD is not about managing time but rather about managing attention.

It’s not enough to capture everything that catches your attention. You must work on it, give it meaning and incorporate it into your life in an effective way.

Clarifying means defining correctly what each issue is and deciding what you are going to do with it.

This process, when practiced and made a habit, brings fundamental value to your organization and your personal productivity. In fact, your things will not be organized unless you decide to clarify their meaning. And you won’t be able to decide what you’re going to do with them until you understand how you relate to them and how they fit into your world.

Many people prefer to avoid this decision-making process, or tiptoe around it, because it involves becoming truly aware of the things around them and sometimes confronting some situations they would rather avoid.

If you’re going to have a week’s vacation a month from now, deciding what you’re going to do with it sounds like fun. But other things are not so much: My boss wants me to improve my customer relations, how do I do that? My business is showing signs of weakness, what can I do? My father can’t live alone anymore, how do I bring it up with my siblings?

I can assure you that avoiding clarifying every issue that affects your life is not going to make them go away. You will only make those issues get handled later and in a worse way.

If there is no clarity in your life, you must make this your main goal. Don’t waste your time living a life where you are not clear about what you want. Clarity is built.

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