Organizing your thoughts
I‘m sure we all feel like the thoughts are just spinning around and around from time to time. This is common in stressful situations or when you just have lot’s on your mind in general.
I’d argue that the processing power of the brain is amazing, the way it creates connections and find new patterns in situations are marvelous. The capacity to multitask many different things is not as impressive, it is true that we can multitask an impressive amount, but whenever we do without an organized system we tend to make mistakes, get stressed out and in bad cases take a real toll on our psychological selves.
I deem my self to be a fairly intelligent person, I’m good at solving problems and finding patterns in whatever I work with, my memory on the other hand is not so great. My first solution to this was a basic to-do list in a simple text file, something which I in time outgrew so I downloaded an application called Things, which is a task manager application for Mac OS X, it is simple and elegant which is key in organization. After a while I built a system for handling different type of tasks concerning involved people and priority using Things project functionality.
This really helped me out, I got a lot better at handling all the different kinds of tasks being thrown at me. I was able to handle more tasks and more work than ever before, it even got to the point were I with this system could take on so much work that I stopped sleeping and just worked until I crashed and burned hehe! (But seriously, don’t do that, if you’re a fellow work-o-holic then you should balance your work, fun and rest is good for your thinking process)
The term “to-do list” is often used to describe a simple form of task management, I like to use that term because it’s my belief that task management is all about simplicity, you want to log as much information as possible of your future task but you want to spend as little time as possible doing so, to achieve this it’s important to have a framework to follow and a simple way of using that framework.
My framework was built on 6 categories:
I used this to keep track of all my deadlines for my different tasks.
I put all tasks I had started in some way here.
This was a list of important future tasks, it’s important to separate the important tasks from the less important tasks if you have lots of tasks, or a very important task could be delayed due to you not realizing it.
- Less important
A list of the less important tasks.
I used this to describe the different jobs I had placed on other people, which is important as I was the responsible person for those jobs.
Whatever suits here, pay invoices, send chocolate to your hot american friend, just the stuff you don’t want to forget about.
This system worked really well for me as I have really bad memory, but my memory works in such a way that if I have a system for all the important information concerning me then I have no problem remembering what I need to remember.
An important aspect of this system was that I could just drag ‘n drop the different tasks into the different categories, again, simplicity is key here! A less important task could easily become important with time, and the Ongoing tasks would obviously change all the time.
I somewhat use this system even now, but I’ve recently built another system which allows me to not only make tasks and take notes but to also develop thoughts in such a way that the act of creating tasks and figuring out the tasks are one and the same. But this system call for another blog post so I’ll write about that later.