Buy groceries
Wash hair
Research how to improve my SEO
Call that person about that thing
Don’t forget to get gas
Gotta write that blog for Monday’s post
Don’t forget to get the mail
OH my goodness I forgot to review that contract before leaving work better read it first thing tomorrow
Wait where are my keys!?!?!

Who can relate to that mish mosh of a list running through your head? It can be crazy trying to keep up with the responsibilities, errands, and thoughts that run through our minds on a daily basis.  We get bogged down with all the things we have to do and we have no real system to capture everything and remember it all!

Something I’ve learned quite recently is that “your mind is for having thoughts not holding them” (David Allen) and when we keep everything in our head we can never do our best work! Research shows that our brains are not well equipped in retaining information for quick retrieval but we’re really good at reminding ourselves of things constantly. For instance, if you have to pick up milk on the way home and you don’t have a process for getting it out of your head, your brain will probably remind you every 10 minutes until you get into the store.  Then you will purchase everything except that milk that your brain has been bothering you about all day!

I know by now your like but Sonja how do I do this?

Well let me show you the first two steps in a 5-Step process that has revolutionized my life.  The Getting Things Done (GTD) Method by David Allen! The GTD method is a way of organizing your life and thoughts so that you can give your best self in every situation.  He talks about having a “mind like water” – a mind that only reacts to its current stimulus because everything else is in its rightful place.  So let me walk you through these two steps!

First you CAPTURE!
Use paper and pencil, a notepad, anything that you can use to record every single thing on your mind or that captures your attention.  This includes work projects, home projects, errands, goals, things you meant to do 2 months ago but still haven’t had a chance to get to.  Write each thing down.  Don’t try to fix it. Don’t try to explain it or resolve it in any way.  Right now you are just taking everything out of your mind and onto a piece of paper.  Allen’s best practice is to write each thought on a single piece of paper so that later you can just focus on that one thing!

Let’s try it out!

Take two minutes and capture everything that comes to mind in those two minutes.  How do you feel?

Second Step: CLARIFY!
Now that you have this long list or huge stack of paper, it’s time to clarify what it all means!  Take each piece of paper with that one thought or issue on it and analyze in the following way:

  • Is this an actionable task?
    • Yes! Well, should you be doing it?
      • No? Delegate it!
      • Yes? Can you do it in 2 minutes or less?
        • I sure can! Do it now!
        • Nope! Set a time and place to come back to it.
  • No, this is not an actionable task.
    • Make a decision on it:
      • Trash it!
      • Sit on it for later (set a time where you will come back to it; maybe its something you just don’t have enough information on to do something about)
      • File as reference.

Once you’ve done all that then you are ready for the next Step—ORGANIZE! We’ll have to wait until next week to talk about that!

I challenge you! Take the time to actually go through a full capture and clarify process! A full capture could take from 2hours to 2 days or even longer! Then when we come back in the following weeks we’ll discuss what to do with all these things you’ve written down.  But if you don’t want to wait check out Getting Things Done website and get going. Or better yet contact me and I can help you!

Let’s talk about it!