My mind wanders. A lot. Other tasks, appointments to make, emails to send, things to Google, shows to watch, books to read. There’s a lot of information to process these days. So random thoughts pop up in my head all the time making it harder to focus. Does this happen to you too? A study found that Americans took in 5x more information in 2011 than they did in 1986.
“If it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear.”
David Allen, Getting Things Done
One thing that really helps is using a catch all list (printable available below). When your mind wanders to something else while working, write it down. The thought gets cleared from your mind and you can focus again. It’s instant relief.
The key is to write the intruding thought somewhere you’ll sort through or reference later. If you write it on random scrap paper that’ll likely get misplaced or forgotten, your mind will still feel pressure to retain the thought.
I keep a catch all list under my mousepad for easy access, but notebooks and note taking apps work too. Just be careful when using your phone. Though convenient, it’s easy to quickly check another app and suddenly realize hours have past while perusing social media or taming your email inbox.
At the end of the day or week, go through the list you created. Categorize, delegate, schedule, or dump the tasks and thoughts on the list. This method helps relieve the pressure of lingering thoughts from your mind and makes planning for the next day or week easier.
BONUS TIP: TRY A BRAIN DUMP
If you’re struggling to quiet your mind, try a brain dump. Sit down for 10-15 minutes with blank paper or a notebook and write down your thoughts, tasks, and stressors. Anything that’s on your mind. When you’re done, you can either sort thru your list for more clarity or toss it. Sometimes just the act of writing everything down helps clear your mind.
Little Coffee Fox has a great article about brain dumps here.
To receive the this printable, click on your preferred paper size and color to open the file in a new tab. Print and/or save the file. (You do not need a DropBox account to do so. Click on “No thanks, continue to view” at the bottom of the dialogue box or the “X” in the top right corner.)
The printable is formatted to print 3 lists on 1 page of either letter or A4 paper.
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