Your Brain is not a Hard-drive

As part of DnA’s Wellbeing Wednesday series I’m writing a short post on how Getting Things Done (GTK) has recently increased my wellbeing.

My name is Billy, I’m the IT guy for DnA, and I’d like to be a lot more productive than I am. This desire has led me towards the book, and life-philosophy, of GTK. I’ll admit, I haven’t actually read the book yet (I have so many other things to do!) but I’ve been listening to CGPGrey’s recent podcasts on the book and how it changed his life.

A tip surfaced from these discussions that really struck home with me: your brain is terrible at storing certain types of information. Things like “your next dentist appointment is next Friday at 2pm”, or “bring both parts of your driving license when you drop off your car for its service” are really hard for me to remember. Trying to keep these things in my head, and accurately, was a source of anxiety for me. My biggest fear wasn’t that I was misremembering the time of my dentist appointment, it was that I also had a doctor’s appointment that I’d completely forgotten about. What do you do about that? You can’t remember to stop forgetting things (well, I can’t).

There are lots of ways around this problem (keeping a diary, Google Calendar, Wunderlist, Omnifocus, etc. etc.) and I knew about (and used) lots of them. The change in my wellbeing came when I just owned up to that fact that my brain was never going to do these things well and I should just trust the tech. Previously I had been putting some things in the calendar and leaving some things out. There was no rhyme or reason behind what went in and what didn’t, it was based on how I was feeling and how close I was to my phone/laptop. Now, everything that pops into my brain goes immediately into the tech, I don’t think about it or try to pre-filter, I just add a calendar event or to-do item. Because everything’s written down I don’t have any niggling worries that I’ve forgotten something, I can’t have forgotten anything, it’s all there in Omnifocus. I don’t feel like I’m trying to juggle an unknown number of balls anymore.

How about you guys? Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Suggestions?


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