Organizing Your Thoughts

Every day there may be several things on our agenda; things that require our brainpower to process and execute. One of the things I have become fascinated with in the last year is the idea of clearing your thoughts in order to be effective at one task.

As we begin the process of organizing our thoughts we literally make time and space to contemplate and make decisions. What many of us do is make decisions on the fly, in the moment; not really giving ourselves the advantage of forethought.

I’m currently finishing up an amazing book that breaks down how we can get more things done in our day by simply organizing. The book Get Things Done is written by a business consultant who after years of working with productive people  created a system of effectiveness.

I would like to expand a bit on the ideas offered in this book, but relate the same concept to our thoughts. Ever thought of limiting our thoughts about certain things to designated times and places?

We’ve all found ourselves waiting in line somewhere and letting our mind wonder to what’s next on the agenda. In a since we may think this is the best way to be productive with our time. With productivity being on of the largest areas accessed in job performance feedback we have been conditioned to always be aware of “wasting time”.

What I have found is when we attempt to make decision without all of the information in front of us, we spend a significant time considering the unknowns that haven’t yet presented themselves. In contrast, if we only spend brainpower and decision making time when we have organized and created time to think, we are more effective at making our best decision.

How do you start this process?

1. Make a list of everything that is waiting on a decision at this time from you.

This can be things that need to be done this week or things that are in the future. The idea is to get things off of your mind and into a organized space.

2. Make time in your schedule to gather and research pertinent information.

This means looking for things that may affect your decision and collecting them beforehand. Now you won’t be able to think of everything, but the idea is to gather as much information as you can ahead of time before the decision is to made.

3. Stick to your plan

Resist the  occasional urge to consider what you have decided you will address next week. If you have tabled the idea or decision with the intention to give yourself time to acquire needed information, stick to that. If you find your mind wondering to the decision, refocus yourself on the task at hand. Then remind yourself you have already addressed this issue, so there is no need to worry.

Clear your mind by organizing your thoughts and decisions to be made. In Get Things Done the author suggest you revisit your list of decision weekly in order to avoid dropping the ball on anything. I’ve discussed in previous posts the advantage of revisiting our goals regularly.

Here’s to a productive week.