Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.
― David Allen
In Getting Things Done, David Allen discussed how the brain is for processing, not storage. As I age I become more and more aware of how true this is. In fact, I’d say that my processing has actually improved while my storage, or at least the speed of accessing that storage, has declined a bit.
Because of this, I try to record or write down as much as possible, as soon as possible. When I have an idea, a new task or project, a new meeting, or someone to call, I immediately jot it down into my journal. I try to keep sticky notes off of my desk to avoid a second round of copying from sticky note into the journal – a time waste with the potential of transcription error. In effect I am downloading my brain.
I know several people who use a tablet, phone, or computer to record the same information electronically. I have also seen a unique application of mind mapping software to this activity, which helps show relationships between goals, projects, tasks, and even phone calls. Whiteboards are also common, although the lack of mobility can be very limiting.
For me, scribbling in an unlined Moleskine journal works best. It’s quick and easy compared to turning on an electronic device and then launching an app, and more flexible. Obviously the downside is the lack of searchability and links between related activities, but for my increasingly simple world that isn’t a big problem.
The important thing is to get information out of your brain and into a system where you can easily access and analyze it. Not having to worry about remembering will let you be more at peace, and mindful in the present. Just don’t lose that journal!