Powers of the mind?
Welcome to Practical Magic! A productivity and intentional living newsletter for women in business with quick, actionable tips to work less and build success on your terms.
Read time: 2 minutes
In David Allen’s famous book, Getting Things Done, he talks about the concept of an “inbox” for your to-dos. I’m going to show you an easy to implement spin on it.
Allen explains the inbox as a physical or digital repository used as a visual representation of all the “inputs” you need to somehow deal with on a daily basis (i.e. a list of all the sh*t you need to do).
You likely start (or end) each day having a rough idea of what you need to accomplish next.
Then you check your email. And your phone. Or walk into the same room as a family member. And within the first moments of the day, you have 10 more things you haven’t planned for that all seem important.
Part of the reason it all seems important is where you’re storing that information.
For many of us, it stays in our heads – creating an unconscious or conscious pressure on our day.
For others, it hits a To Do list – stacked behind the 5 other things you thought you’d get done that day.
I want to show you a quick way to free up your mind on the daily.
Get Outta Your Mind, What?
As Lil Jon once crooned, it’s critical that you get this collection of chaos out of your brain. (If you don’t get this reference, you’re welcome.)
You might have an amazing memory, so you think that keeping tasks all in your head isn’t too much of a lift.
But mentally and emotionally, you are 1) taxing your brain power for that day, and 2) not able to prioritize what’s truly important because whatever is most recent will feel important.
Build Your Brain Inbox
Next, we need a place for this chaos so that as requests / pings / sparks come at you all day long, you do not action on them right away.
I’m a big proponent of project management tools because I use those features to automate my prioritization process (I’ll write on this another time). However, I still use a physical planner/paper for my brain inbox.
Inspiration and requests are flying at you fast and we need to quickly throw it somewhere so it’s not 1) stuck in our brain, or 2) forgotten.
Here’s the template I write – every day – on a piece of paper:
Most of the boxes are self-explanatory, but I want to dig into the Pop-Ups section.
This is where your true mastery of productivity will come: scheduling things that pop-up (i.e. you were not planning to do) for a future date. That could be tomorrow. But it is not today.
Today, my friend, you tackle those three items under To Do. Or the Personal task that’s been weighing on you. That is how you actually lighten your load.
Is every day perfect? Of course not. But the more days you can fit into this system, the more you will get done that actually moves the needle.
Always in your corner,
If you implement any of these tips or learn something interesting, I’d love to hear from you! Just reply to this email or connect with me on social.
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