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Time Management 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.

Hamster WheelNo 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.

Brain 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 you're doing.

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. Time Management Techniques Telescoping Pen

Time Management Techniques Moleskin

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, planning.....

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