Interesting perspective from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.
If something is on your mind, Allen argues that it's almost always one of three things --
1. The desired outcome you want hasn't been defined.
2. The next action to perform hasn't been determined.
3. Or, you haven't set a reminder in an appropriate place you trust to let you know when it's relevant.
It's not quite a complete set of reasons something would be on your mind -- a lot of excitement about something coming up, being worried and not having the right techniques to dispel worry, or just turning something repeatedly over in your mind looking for solutions could all be reasons to think about something.
But it's an interesting very short checklist. I was meditating this morning, and a few thoughts kept resurfacing repeatedly. The still stood out to me after I got up, and I ran this check on all of them -- and sure enough, all of them were missing one of the three.
Definitely a useful diagnostic tool. Strong recommendation for GTD by the way -- a must read if you haven't read it, and a strong candidate for a re-read if it's been more than a year.
That's fascinating. It's been a while since I read GTD -- I found it a little too complex for me to keep up with regularly -- but I know there are some great concepts in it that I need to go back and revisit. And I am absolutely trying out that three-item list next time something's stuck in my mind.
Required read for sure. I recommend Wunderlist for a simple way to track next actions across all projects. I wrote a post on my blog about my basic implementation, http://www.howtobeast.com/instant-productivity/ check it out.
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger"
-- Shakespeare, Henry V
INTERNAL SCORECARD #12: ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH
I write these Internal Scorecards up, usually weekly, so that you can see the pragmatic applications of strategy, habits, operations, production, etc. The good and bad, the upsides and downs, and so on. I get a lot out of it too -- it gives me and external accountability mechanism, and good feedback.
This one covers 11 August to 17 August.
Read about my challenge here.
Today was another tough day ... I'm actually fine eating the bland food (cold boiled potatoes aren't that bad), but I find my mouth and mind both really craving some kind of flavor. Anything. I want to eat fruit, or drink Eva's coffee with creamer, or drink some wine during the day, just for some taste.
It's interesting to watch my mind try to find ways to weasel its way to getting what it wants. It justifies it in so many ways, just a little cheat, no one will know. And maybe I'll give in from time to time, but for now I'm just watching the process. My mind is really inventive when it wants to be.
The amazing thing is watching myself go to the foods without thinking -- I just reach for it, or imagine myself drinking the coffee as if it's really happening -- and at this point I haven't even thought about my flavorless challenge. The thought hasn't occurred that I'm not supposed to eat or drink the food, but I just am used to being able to eat whatever I feel like eating. It's like being able to order whatever you want online, whenever you have the urge. It results in spending a lot of money and having a lot of debt and clutter.
Update: I cracked! After doing great all day, eating according to plan and not giving in to temptations, Eva and the kids left for Sacramento, leaving me alone ... and late in the evening I gave in and ate some raisins and salted peanuts. Not horrible, but it was interesting to see my resolve just crumble. I think it was a combination of being alone (when the family leaves, I feel like a bachelor), having several hard days, being tired, and perhaps not having enough salt in my diet.