Here’s a simple but very effective strategy which I use to help clear my mind of all the myriad of things it tries to throw at me every second of every day…
Always have a notebook with you…
I’ve been doing that at work for as long as I remember. I’ve tried to move to doing it electronically on my ipad, but I keep coming back to a simple notebook and pen. It’s just so easy. That notebook follows me everywhere at work, at meetings, on the phone..even at lunch. I write notes during meetings, I use it to capture actions and things I’ve agreed to do (or other people have agreed to do) and, most importantly, to jot down all those random thoughts that suddenly pop into my head when I am in the middle of something else. It helps me to stay focused on the task at hand, and also makes it easier at the end of each day…to tally up the “to do’s” and write them up ready for the next day. It’s not that often that I have to go back to old notes (although I have sometimes), but I think merely writing things down helps it to stay in my brain.
Weirdly, though, it is only recently that I realised I need to do the same thing at home. So now I have also have a “personal” notepad that lives in my handbag. For those moments when I am eating dinner and suddenly thing “don’t forget to fill out that note for school” or when someone calls and I need to jot down a number. Just like at work, I use my notebook to go back and tally up the “to do” items and get ready for the next day ahead (for the record, I spent a lot of very pleasurable time shopping for an appropriate notebook. It is green and has a lovely soft cover. Surely the beauty of it makes me far more productivity…surely?).
I find this is one of the most simple but effective things I have done to help me feel more in control and less overwhelmed. Clearing things out of your head and onto paper, makes space for your brain to do other things. And it helps me to focus my attention, because instead of jumping from one task to the next…I force myself to simply write things down when they pop up, and then keep focused on what I am doing.
Do you have a key strategy that works for you in keeping everything in your life on track?
P.S Here’s an interesting fact, or maybe not an interesting fact at all?!? I wrote this post a while ago but decided not to post it because…well…quite frankly, it’s pretty boring isn’t it? who wants to read a post about a notebook? Surely this advice is not valuable. But then last week I was reading a book called 15 Secrets Successful People Know about Time Management By Kevin Kruse…and BANG, there it was…carry a notebook. So…maybe it is not such lame advice after all, clearly, I am a highly successful person, just like Richard Branson (because he has a lame notebook too…so there!).