Do you want to take a few minutes to go over a simple process that will empty your head of worrisome details, increase your peace, and give you more time? It is a productivity hack usually designed to benefit your boss, but you are going to use it to buy back time for you.
Robert Allen talks about these “open loops” that you mind keeps circling back around to because it senses that something hasn’t been completed. Most people tamp these back down with a promise of getting around to it sooner or later.
The way to close those open loops and keep them from pestering you is to complete the task. Completing it, or having a completion plan, will allow your mind to relax, and a relaxed mind is free to focus on more important things. But enough with the why, let’s move on to the how.
How do you get this stuff out of your head and into a system that will collect everything into a single, searchable, available everywhere bucket?
Evernote. Just sign up and sign in. That’s your bucket. So how do you get everything out of your head and into the bucket? A lovely little app called vJournal in the Apple Store and Ever Journal in the Google store.
I know what you’re thinking. “Jim, I thought that the happiness you talk about is based on human scale and pace.” And you are absolutely right; it is. But it is also firmly tied to human nature and human needs. And we need to keep our minds clear. The modern world doesn’t play well in that arena, but technology can assist us as long as the ball and chain is shackled to technology, and not to us. Some get by with a notepad and a stubby pencil, and it works great up to a point. But when it comes to putting the dumpings into the bucket, electronic filing and retrieval in unparalleled in how it rocks.
The journal is what will drive the data dump. Every single time your brain taps you on the shoulder and pesters you with an open loop, you’re going to grab your technology, tap the Journal app, touch the microphone button, and blab away. The microphone button is right there at the bottom, beneath the X key. Then you’ll touch the upload button, and it goes directly to your Evernote inbox so you can deal with it at the appropriate time.
So the next time your brain does that shoulder tap, you can elbow it away and get on with what you’re doing. At first, people are going to look at you like you’re weird because you’re going to be talking at your technology. At least until all of those open loops are closed.
Later you’ll deal with the information in your bucket, but getting it out of your head and into the bucket is “first base.” I talk more about that in my book, “Human Scale Happiness.” But now that you know how to get there, what are you waiting for?