GTD Cafe: The Simplest Habit of All

Each Wednesday The Daily Saint hosts the GTD Cafe, focusing on David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology.  Today we look at the simplest habit of all: writing things down.

Geoff at Gearfire tagged me with the question of writing things down.  In the GTD mindset, getting things out of your head is very important for a few reasons:

  1. The human mind can only be focusing on so many things at one time.

  2. The human mind isn't capable of remembering things with the speed of information delivery that we currently experience in the modern age.

  3. Getting things out of your head relieves stress and allows you to focus on "high end" activities.

As a school administrator, I have to write things down, a lot of things!  Records are very important for the sake of students, parents and yours truly.  Still, much of that writing is for legal reasons and behavior tracking.  The GTD recommendation of writing things down is more of a lifestyle habit.

Here's what my writing down looks like on any given day:

  • I keep a journal which I write in nearly every morning.  It's my mental "check in" point of the day when I'm free of distractions and can get whatever is in my head out of it and onto paper.  I also use the journal for blog post ideas and whatever comes up in the course of that early am (5am-5:45am) time slot.

  • I use my FranklinCovey planner pages for capturing thoughts.  The key here is to keep the pages neat and clean.  While I might write "DF: Sump pump maintenance" in large letters if I'm running out the door, it's more common that I put the item right into a to-do and schedule it.

  • I use a Moleskine reporter notebook for my car.  I don't use this too often but it's handy when you need it.

  • I use my TypePad blog to get things out of my head.  I find that blogging stretches me, keeps me mentally sharp and fits my style of organization.  I'm not "writing" with pen and paper but I am getting things out of my head.

Resources for the Road

GTD Cafe: Surprising Moments of GTD Clarity

GTD Cafe: The Power of Small Decisions

GTD Cafe: David Allen and Bruce Lee

GTD Cafe: Does GTD Help Your Career?