Take A Note

Feeling busy is something that most of us are familiar with. You have a tight schedule, multiple meetings a day, a big to-do list and hundreds of half baked solutions and scenarios in your head. Most of the time, this feeling of busyness comes exactly from there, from your head.

Keeping a thousand things in your head, trying not to forget anything or to construct a scenario — maybe for an upcoming interview or for that presentation in two days — causes of lot of “lose ends” in your head. Thoughts that you have no resolution for at this moment and your head tries to keep track of all of them.

This is what makes you feel busy, overwhelmed and causes stress.

Under what circumstances would your mind allow you to “forget” about a particular thought for now? From my experience it’s either by resolving it right now or by being 100% sure that you will get back to it later. For example you don’t think about appointments in your calendar all day as you know you will for sure look at your calendar each day. A place to store your thoughts for later — in as much detail as possible. Every thought.

So i got myself that place (for me, that’s Things) and I am writing everything down. With whom I need to talk to, that I have to claim that miles from my last hotel stay, that I have to talk to a colleague about something and the first thoughts about next weeks article. I also try to be specific. So instead of “plan project x” i type “setup meeting with y” and set a reminder for the day I want to do it. Same with “Call landlord on monday because of kitchen tab” instead of “take care of kitchen tab” So I try to write down specific actions I need to do. Everything goes in there.

So my thoughts are planned out as much as they currently can, with specific actions that I need to take, stored in a place I’m 100% sure I will look into later today. My mind eventually trusts this and is simply letting go. I noticed this yesterday. Normally before I have important meetings, let’s say a job interview or an annual review, I can barely sleep. My head is going through every argument, every possible scenario, every point I should make or “defend”. But since I write this down now — including the example conversation I might have at that meeting — my mind is free again and I sleep like a baby, feeling prepared also. Additionally, your mind can concentrate on whatever you’re doing right now which increases your focus and productivity.

So, if you feel overwhelmed and have a lot on your mind, try to take a note.
If you would like to read more about this, I can recommend the book “Gettings Things Done”.

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