There is an inverse relationship between the amount something is on your mind, and the amount it gets done.
The degree to which something is gnawing at your mind is usually the degree to which those things feel stuck in some way. What do you need to do to get those things off your mind? Paradoxically, when you get things out of your head, the more likely it is that progress ensures on them.
From the time you woke up this morning until this very moment, has something popped up in your head that you still need to do? Have you had that thought a couple of times? If both answers are ‘yes’, it means you have been wasting precious mental energy. Why? Simply because having the thought about it made no progress. But on the other hand it does take up mental energy and thus gets in the way of being productive.
There is good news: you don’t have to finish something to get if off your mind! Instead, what you need to do is:
For clarification, a system you trust can be either Evernote, Outlook and so on. This is important, if you don’t use a system you trust, in other words a system you know will remind you, your mind will still focus on reminding and remembering this tasks.
Until you do the above mentioned things, your mind still thinks it has the job of deciding, remembering and reminding. Which takes up huge portions of mental energy. Energy that you would perhaps rather spend on being creative and resourceful.
For example, your boss hands you the task of buying a new laptop. First, define the successful outcome? In this case, what requirements does the laptop need to have? For what applications will it be used? Once the successful outcome is clear put “Buy new laptop” on a projects lists and think about the next action this week. Decide what your next action is. You remember your colleague had bought a new laptop past week. So put “Call colleague X regarding laptop recommendation” on your to do list (or next actions list, dependant on your system and how you work).
Buying a new laptop is then of your mind, and paradoxically, will happen.
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