Tag Archives | Getting Things Done

Task meditation to clear your mind and get things done

Thanks to Rebecca for this path photo! Click on the link to visit her blog.

If you’ve read Getting Things Done, then you know that “if it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear.” So what I’m about to say is certainly nothing new. The question is: have you really gotten it all out of your head?

If our brains are overloaded with to do lists and random tasks, then how are we free to be creative, or to actually think? The grocery list, that phone call we need to make later on in the afternoon, and the email we were supposed to send yesterday and forgot to are all taking up valuable mental bandwidth. There isn’t much room for the more important things.

Get it all out of there and into your preferred task system: diary or planner, to do list, BlackBerry, Google calendar, whatever. It doesn’t matter what system you use, since different people prefer different task solutions. Just be sure to get it all out of your head.

If you’re used to keeping everything in your mind, then it may take a few days to download absolutely everything into a task system and then get used to the new way of dealing with tasks. The intention is to change your previous habits and to make sure everything that needs to be done is in a reliable system, and not in your mind.

How to download tasks from your mind:

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New time management trick to avoid overload

Thanks to Gustavo for this great path photo from Argentina!

I developed this little system that has been working great for me, so I wanted to share it. You already know about my to-do list technique. It’s low-tech (on paper) and involves setting priorities within specified categories that I’ve set up for myself. This system is based on that one.

Remember when I mentioned the day I had “a 6:45 a.m. breakfast meeting and an errand I had to run immediately afterward, then a specific class at the gym that I wanted to take, and finally a meeting in the afternoon. Clearly, I had very little time throughout the day to do my full list of things. I set up a shorter list, and got everything done that I wanted to…precisely because I didn’t overload myself”?

I’m all about not overloading myself (primarily because I’ve done it in years past), and I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment, so I’ve been very disciplined lately about calculating which days are highly productive days, which days are medium days, and which days have lower productivity levels. I classify days depending on how many hours of coaching sessions, appointments, and meetings I may have on those days, plus other events such as courses or Meetups.

I’m in the middle of one distance learning course at the moment, and I’m starting a second course in March, so I want to get as far along on the first course before starting the second one, so I’m not overloading myself with two courses at once (Notice that I looked ahead in my schedule for the next couple of months to plan ahead and avoid future overload? Don’t forget to do this.). Plus, the more information I have from the first course, it will give me a lot of background information that will help me take advantage of the second one, which is a lot more comprehensive.

The issue is, I wasn’t sure if this was a realistic goal or not. It’s what I wanted to do, and I needed to find out if I could actually achieve it. How to figure this out?

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10 MORE steps to improve time management and reduce stress

Thanks so much to the people at WordPress.com for choosing my previous post on this topic for Freshly Pressed! And a huge thanks to everyone who visited and left comments. I found a lot of great tips in there, and since I’m not sure whether everyone went through and read the comments, I wanted to share some here.

1. Listen to music or  nature sounds

This is an excellent suggestion, and one I often do! Having some kind of background music or white noise on headphones can help drown out distraction in your environment. Either load your background music onto your computer, and listen with headphones, or just use your iPod. Different people have different preferences: if songs you’re familiar with distract you, try listening to nature sounds, music without lyrics, or music in another language that you don’t understand.

Michael suggests Naturespace sounds. Check out their website. They look amazing. These or any other nature sounds are excellent distraction busters. And Rtcrita uses background music to reduce stress while working. When it’s time for a break, she’ll turn it up to add a little exercise and dance into her schedule. That’s another great stress reducer! It’s important to get moving during breaks.

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