~Save Brainpower with GTD
Posted by John Kendrick on October 25, 2008
We’re all about saving these days – saving money, saving gas, saving time. But how about saving some brainpower? Probably doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking about saving, but that’s the primary premise of GTD (Getting Things Done) – freeing your mind from the stress it feels when we overwork it trying to remember the things we need to do.
In many of my recent posts, and answers to questions about my use of GTD, I’ve attempted to explain the “why” of GTD. You will often hear or read responses to questions about why GTD works for a given individual, with answers like these:
- “so I don’t forget to do something”
- “helps me relax, knowing that I won’t forget”
- “I am less stressful when I know everything is recorded in my trusted system”
- “stuff has a way of slipping through the cracks”
The following blurb on the back cover of David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” provides a succinct “why”.
“Allen’s premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective results and unleash our creative potential.”
I recently ran across a great 8-minute flash presentation on Time Management that answers the question, “why” in a simple and fun way. And I have obtained permission to provide it here for my readers. While I don’t espouse or condone all of the opinions posted on this site, I believe this presentation will help anyone, especially “newbies” to time management and GTD, to see the light of why they need to consider GTD.
This presentation opines that our brains expend “25%: worrying about missed appointments, 35%: trying to keep in mind the important tasks for the day, and 20%: coping with a vague nagging dread that you will forget something very very important.”
While I cannot vouch for these numbers, if these estimates are even remotely correct, not having a system can at times use up a large percentage of your brain power, thus blocking its use for other logical and creative thinking.
To make sure that you don’t fall into this mind numbing trap, make sure you have a trusted system in which to record everything you need to remember. I have posted some simple steps to help you get started in a post entitled, How to Get Started with GTD.
I believe it is also important to have a “take away” GTD system. Whether your system is in paper or electronic form, it’s important to have it with you as much as possible. This serves two purposes.
- When a thought about something you need to do hits you, it can be immediately recorded in your system; you won’t have to take a chance on forgetting, and even more important, you will be freeing your mind for other things.
- Whenever you start getting that nagging feeling that something hasn’t been recorded, you can simply check your system to reassure yourself, and then forget about it.
That’s why I use Nozbe and iNozbe, web-based GTD solutions that allow me to view my entire GTD at work on my Windows machine, at home on my Macs, on a friend’s computer and even on my cell phone.
Go ahead, try it – free your mind with GTD, if you’re like me, you won’t regret it.
You can read more posts on GTD using the links on the How to Do GTD page. Thanks for reading, John.