In his iconic book, Getting Things Done, productivity expert David Allen suggests starting your quest for getting things done by doing a mind sweep. Basically, this involves listing everything you need to do, want to do, and hope to do – no matter how big or small the task.
Allen suggests that listing the tasks instead of allowing them to float around your mind as thoughts, allows you to be more creative and productive because you aren’t wasting your energy trying to remember all these actions.
Today we’ll start a simplified version of Allen’s GTD method. Grab a notebook or open a word processing document, and start listing everything that you need to, want to, or hope to do. The tasks you list could take you 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 months to complete.
Maybe you need to carry out the action later today or perhaps it has neither a start nor end date. List it all – phone calls, errands, and seasonal cleaning as well as projects, dreams, vacation plans, etc. If it involves an action, list it.
Don’t feel that you must do this in one sitting. You can return to this task over the next few days. Once you get this system running, you’ll easily add things.
Tomorrow, I’ll address how to make this unwieldy (and, perhaps, scary) list more manageable.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I help people focus on what's important to them by guiding them through clearing clutter and distractions from their lives. I teach decluttering and organizing skills through articles; books; courses; speaking engagements; as well as virtual coaching sessions.