Don’t Waste Time. Write it Down.

Pro(ductivity) Tip# 76

You increase your productivity and creativity exponentially when you think about the right things at the right time and have the tools to capture your value-added thinking. -David Allen

Do not wait to update the information in your project plan or journal. The longer you wait the greater the chance you have of not updating your tools at all. This means that the potentially ground breaking idea or important task you need to complete will be lost.

Knowledge work requires consistent and disciplined documentation. The more you cultivate a habit of documentation the greater the visibility you bring to your ideas. Ultimately this leads to more effective action. If information is written down, you can see it and maintain it on your radar, even amidst a whirlwind of activities.

Wisdom is built upon the insight of yesterday. Knowledge acquired in the past provides us with the materials we need to create the future. Practicing the art of capturing information is intertwined with the intent to use what you have preserved. As the library scientist Ranganathan articulated in his first law of Library Science , books (information) are for use. This requires that you clarify the intent of the information captured and the value it provides. If you determine that the information does not hold practical value to you then you move it out of your system.

For many this level of rigor is not a basic habit. It takes practice to feel fully comfortable with new behaviors, but once they are integrated into how you operate they will serve you well.