Weekly Assignment #2: Capture Incoming Paper

I once heard a friend say that when ever they get inspired they would write it down on whatever is nearby….a stray piece of paper, a random sticky note, the back of a piece of junk mail. They took this as a point of pride, I wondered how in the heck they would find their inspiration again when they needed it.

The GTD systems consider my friend’s behavior as an open loop. As a personal productivity system, GTD must work for you in big ways, like reminding you of the book you are meant to write and in small ways, like reminding you that you are down to the last piece of bread. The loop is closed when you act on the item or consciously determine NOT to act on the item. The goal of your productivity system is to have few, if any, open loops.

Capture is about capturing what has your attention. While you are holding that open loop in short term memory ( I need to pick up bread) you are using valuable cognitive space that could be better used fully focused on what you are doing right now.

There is no such thing as multi-tasking. The brain doesn’t work that way. You are NOT doing things simultaneously. You are switching back and forth (albeit quickly) between what has your attention. You can train your brain to keep your open loops open so that you don’t forget about them but to do so means you are not training your brain to be focused and fully cognizant of what you are doing in this moment. The former may serve you at the grocery store but when it’s time to write your book, you will need the latter.

GTD is about clearing your mind SO THAT you can be completely focused on what you are doing in this moment.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them.” – David Allen*

*This quote and this lesson From “The Getting Things Done Workbook: 10 moves to stress-free productivity by David Allen and Brandon Hall.

So, let’s focus on the incoming. Paper. The small atomic habit here is THE INBOX, MUST BE CLEARED OUT ON A REGULAR BASIS.

These are called “in-trays.” Buy two of them, one for home and one for work related paper.

This is where PERSONAL papers go

Your home In-Tray should be in a location that is convenient to place notes, mail and other paper items in it.

This is where your WORK-related papers go.

Your work In-Tray should be placed within arms reach of where you spend most of your time working.

Weekly Assignment Check-In

GTD: In-Trays

gtd: Vision Board

AtHbt: Drink Water and Empty your In-Tray

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