Techniques: Write Everything Down
Imagine going through a day without constantly thinking about
all of the things you have to do over and over again. Writing
everything down is one of the most potent time management techniques.
It's not only possible, but easily
achievable with the right tools.
The problem with keeping things in our heads is that we tend
to loop through them, thinking about them repeatedly. We spend more
time thinking about doing something than actually doing it.
wonder so many people feel like the hamster on the wheel.
Most of us have at least 70-80 to-do's in a given week, at a
minimum. It doesn't matter if you have the most important job in the
world as a mom, or are a CEO, student, or entrepreneur. Life comes at
us unbelievably fast now a days.
Between all of the people we have to call - even if it's just
our families and friends - all of the emails to return, the projects at
work, the projects at home, the vacation to plan, the kitchen to clean,
the lawn to mow, the books and magazines to read.
Sorry....I didn't mean to cause you more stress.....
It's bad enough having so
many things to do, but we make it infinitely worse when we keep
thinking about them over and over....
David Allen points out in "Getting Things Done" that when we think of
something we need to to, there's a part of our brain that thinks we
should be doing it all the time until it's done. And we keep thinking
about it until we either finish it, or we write it down in a place we
trust we'll find it again when we need it.
Researchers believe that we're able to keep track of 7 things at a
time, plus or minus 2. That's why having a trusted
system like Getting Things Done (GTD)
or the Rapid Planning Method
(RPM) is so important to this time management technique -
without it, our brains are so busy working overtime keeping track of
all of the stuff we have to do, we never give our brains a chance to do
what they're best at: creativity, brainstorming, solving problems.....
Thus the value of this time management technique.
So now that you get it, and see this time management
techniques value in getting everything out of your head and writing
everything down, the question is how?
That's the easy part...just make sure you have a
way of capturing all of your ideas, no matter where you are or what
If you're already tech savvy and are using a blackberry or
other PDA, David Allen's GTD system takes full advantage of being able
to capture and organize everything you think of by context. More on
that in the GTD pages.
Not tech savvy? No problem - you can't go wrong with a pen and
paper - Carry a small notebook and pen with you wherever you go. Zebra
makes an inexpensive, telescoping pen that fits anywhere, and there are
several types of small notebooks too, like the moleskin, which is about
the size of a pen.
I keep my moleskin notebook with me wherever I go, including on my
nightstand when I go to sleep. You never know when you're going to have
that next great idea (or remember that call you need to make). And if
you're like me, there's another place you probably constantly have new
ideas: your car.
Seems like a day doesn't go by that I don't remember half a
dozen things to do while I'm driving. Obviously you can't pull out your
notebook and start writing while you're driving - ok, some people do,
and I hope you're not one of them - so what's the solution?
Fortunately just about all of the new cellphones, blackberrys
and other PDAs have built in voice recorders. You can capture all of
the things you remember, even if you can't stop to write it down. If
your phone or pda doesn't have a voice recorder, most office supply
stores sell digital voice recorders for under $100.
Hopefully your convinced of this time management techniques
benefits. If it's in your head, your probably spending more time
thinking about it than actually doing it. Even worse, you're keeping
your brain busy on tracking to do's.
Get the full benefit of this time management technique:
Write Everything Down
Capture things on paper or electronically, and free up your mind for
doing what it's designed for: problem solving, brainstorming,
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