How do you get things done that really matter to you? Clear your mind. Yes, that’s it. The problem is most people don’t know how to clear their mind, writes David G. Allan.
The strange paradox is you actually have to use your mind to shut your mind up. First ask yourself: ‘Why is this on my mind?’
Our brain is a poor and unreliable repository of all the things we try to cram into it. “Smart” phones and social networks are making the problem worse. By living a life of distraction , we are crowding out the deeper and creative thoughts, along with any hope of real quiet.
How to make things better:
1) Adopt a reliable capture method (Evernote, voice memos, a notebook, etc.) to get thoughts out of your head.
2) Distill them to actionable items and next steps (“send receipts to Finance,” or “call a kick-off meeting”) on your daily to-do list.
3) Dedicate yourself to multiple reviews in which you put these action items into the right buckets (“must be done today,” “phone calls when I’m on the train”).
4) Do the things on the list when you have time, prioritizing as you go.
David G. Allan has enjoyed occasional, fleeting moments when he realizes, “I don’t have anything I need to think about!” When it happens, a more creative or big picture idea often enters to fill the void. He also experiences increased focus on a project when he’s unfettered by mental loops reminding him to act on something else